Environmental markets project developer and investor GreenCollar has secured funding for a series of carbon farming projects under the Queensland Government's $500M Land Restoration Fund (LRF).
The approved projects will generate an estimated value of $9.5 million worth of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs).
The Queensland Government launched the $500 million Land Restoration Fund with the aim of expanding carbon farming in the state by supporting land-sector projects that deliver additional environmental, social and economic co-benefits. Carbon farming refers to carbon abatement and sequestration activities on agricultural land.
The Queensland Government is investing up to $100 million in 2020 for carbon farming projects with co-benefits that meet one or more of the three priority areas identified by the Priority Investment Plan.
The fund gives financial support to farmers, land managers and landholders with the support to generate additional, regular and diverse income streams and protect their business, using established scientific methodologies that measure carbon abatement and sequestration activities and can be used to generate ACCUs as a result.
The Queensland government noted that "a robust carbon farming industry in Queensland will create regional jobs and contribute to reducing Queensland's carbon emissions, as well as providing valuable co-benefits like healthier waterways, more habitat for threatened species, and more resilient landscapes."
"What's unique about this project is they're among the first we're going to explicitly commercialise," said James Schultz, GreenCollar co-founder and CEO. "We've been rolling out across our portfolio for a little while now, and there are a number of biodiversity benefits, and water benefits using the Accounting for Nature guidelines."
GreenCollar operates by forming joint ventures with landowners or investing into projects directly, Schultz said.
"The model is to be the project proponent and run things through partnership," Schultz said. "We don't charge fees in any respect to landholders - we invest our time and capital to get the projects up and off the ground, and we work with the landholder on the management of the property. The key part of these projects is active an ongoing management. They're actively grazed, actively farmed properties and they're important to our model."
GreenCollar outlined the five projects that they will pursue as a result of LRF funding:
Beef and Conservation for the Future (Monto QLD)
Lake Dalrymple Watershed (Ravenswood QLD)
- 50,000 total carbon credits (ACCUs) estimated to be generated over 10 years
- 1544ha of native vegetation retained and improved
- Recovery of water quality runoff (through reduction of sediment and nutrients) to the Burnett River.
- Improvement of the extent and condition of habitat for multiple threatened species including brush-tailed rock wallabies, greater gliders, koalas and glossy black cockatoos.
- Reconnecting fragmented and isolated pockets of native vegetation, including a state-wide significant corridor.
Forest Retention Project (Coverty QLD)
- 127,300 carbon credits (ACCUs) estimated to be generated over 15 years
- Implementation of carbon management activities that will improve multiple threatened regional ecosystems and reduce sediment reaching and dispersing from the 28kms stretch of Burdekin River
- Assisting to stabilise soil and retain vegetation cover to significantly reducing the risk of sediment mobilisation to a Great Barrier Reef management priority river.
Regenerative Production Project (Thangool QLD)
- 15,000 total carbon credits (ACCUs) estimated to be generated over 5 years
- Reduction of sediment mobilization from the grazing property to improve the water quality running into the Boondooma Dam, the Burnett River and ultimately, to the Great Barrier Reef.
- Mature native vegetation will improve the extent and condition of at least three threatened regional ecosystems of concern, including koala habitat as well as many other threatened species.?
- Providing critical connective corridors to create linkages for wildlife movement between Allies Creek State Forest, Barakula State Forest and the Beeron
Dry Tropics Regeneration Project (Mount Garnet QLD)
- 15,000 total carbon credits (ACCUs) estimated to be generated over 10 years
- Improving connectivity across the grazing property, by providing enhanced habitat for several threatened species including koalas and the glossy black cockatoo.?
- Improved water quality outcomes will be achieved by retaining mature vegetation and stabilising soil, reducing the risk of sediment run off into a Great Barrier Reef management priority river.
- 150,000 total carbon credits (ACCUs) estimated to be generated over 15 years
- Regeneration of native vegetation to protect the ecological value of the State significant wetlands. Achieved through a change in livestock management by moving from set stocking to rotational grazing as part of the project's activities.
- Improvement in water quality expected to benefit the Great Barrier Reef, by reducing sediment and nutrient run off from the property into the Burdekin River, and ultimately the Great Barrier Reef.
As part of these projects, GreenCollar will focus on generating an explicit price for the ecoysystem services that they produce from their activities and sell them into the market.
"We want to sell them to the best-placed buyers, and the commonality is someone who wants to come in and have a strong interest in the biodiversity or the water benefit and pay the full price of that service," Schultz said. "That's an important part of what we're doing in developing markets and how we approach the markets. We don't want to undervalue the ecosystem services, particularly in the early days of setting up the market.
"It is important to get those price settings right - we've done a lot of work with around the deployment of things like the Accounting for Nature framework, and bringing the same assurance, integrity, measurement and transparency to other ecosystem services that we do to carbon."