Money grows on our trees

Acting Environment Minister, Ipswich MP Rachel Nolan, launches Carbon Farming in Rural Queensland with SEQ Catchments CEO Simon Warner at the Bundamba carbon planting site.
Acting Environment Minister, Ipswich MP Rachel Nolan, launches Carbon Farming in Rural Queensland with SEQ Catchments CEO Simon Warner at the Bundamba carbon planting site. Contributed

WITH Ipswich already at the vanguard of carbon farming, graziers are being encouraged to learn new ways of turning carbon into cash.

The State Government has produced a guide to help rural landholders, local governments and graziers earn money from carbon credits by using their land to "convert carbon to currency".

Acting Environment Minister, and Member for Ipswich Rachel Nolan this week launched the guide at the Bundamba carbon forestry site, one of Queensland's first projects eligible to earn carbon credits under the Federal Government's carbon farming initiative.

"This new initiative means farmers can make serious returns by registering projects that reduce agricultural emissions or put carbon back into the landscape," Ms Nolan said.

"The Bundamba carbon forestry site - run by Ipswich City Council in partnership with Greenfleet and SEQ Catchments - covers an area of 25 hectares and includes 11,000 trees that are expected to sequester 350 tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide equivalent) per hectare over 100 years.

Carbon dioxide equivalent is used to compare emissions from greenhouse gases based on their global warming potential.

"Even though the site is relatively small it will earn carbon credits worth several thousand dollars a year," she said.

"With a carbon farming project almost 20,000 times as large as this one, you get some idea of the sheer scale of these opportunities.

"For example a 50ha block planted in a high rainfall area of Queensland could earn around $20,000 per year based on a carbon price of $23 a tonne."

Environment and Conservation Committee chairman Cheryl Bromage said the council had been partnering with the State Government and Greenfleet for about three years with a multitude of plantings around the city.

"We knew that at some stage a price would be put on carbon and we were also unsure in 2009 what the Landfill Waste Levy would be so we started to plant sinks around the city," Cr Bromage said.

"Trees and the carbon from the Greenfleet plantings do not belong to council; they are owned by Greenfleet and do not offset council or community emissions."

But two sites were established in 2009 using council-owned freehold land, with council-funded revegetation projects.

These projects gave local governments the option to undertake carbon sequestration accounting and consider community emissions and trading options.

They are at 129 Brisbane Rd, Riverview and Bremerdale Park, Yamanto and cover about 3.25 hectares and 11.8ha respectively.

Carbon expected to be sequestered by the Riverview site is 16 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and 115 tonnes by the Yamanto site.

Ms Nolan said Queensland stood to gain the most from carbon farming and the government was doing all it could to ensure landholders would benefit.

Topics:  carbon farming carbon pricing environment queensland government rachel nolan trees

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