Forest industries welcome new opportunities to help Australia meet its climate goals

The peak body representing the major plantation companies of Australia, the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), has welcomed just announced changes to the new plantation forestry method which will streamline opportunities for planting trees and retain current forest lands to help combat climate change.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Hon Angus Taylor has announced several changes to the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) methodology relating to timber production forests which will assist tree companies make the decision to proceed to expand their estates. The changes will also allow new sandalwood and African mahogany plantations to participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).

Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “Professional forestry experts worked for many months with the Government to develop these changes which will be very helpful for tree planting companies seeking to participate in the Government’s voluntary ERF where eligible activities can earn Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs). One ACCU is equivalent to one tonne of carbon removed from or avoided in the atmosphere and can be sold by companies to generate income, either to the government through reverse auction or in the secondary market.

“Forest industries have enormous potential to help Australia meet its net zero by 2050 commitment. As trees sequester carbon whilst growing, the carbon continues to be stored in timber products and the cycle recommences when the replanting of some 70 million trees takes place each winter.”

Indeed, the Government’s “Growing A Better Australia – A billion trees for jobs and growth” plan is seeking to plant an additional 400,000ha of production tree plantings which according to recent modelling can capture between 150 to 210Mt C02-e by 2050.

“Promoting more production tree planting is a win, win, win for Australia. Not only will it help meet our climate goals, it also provides a number of co-benefit outcomes such as helping to generate new income for landowners, increasing biodiversity and habitat for wildlife, while helping to supply the vitally needed timber which our builders are so desperate for and increasing carbon stores in the built environment,” Ross Hampton said.

“Forest industries look forward to further announcements from the Government regarding removing regulatory barriers so that timber plantations in all key forestry regions can participate in the ERF,” Ross Hampton concluded.

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