Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot and Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot

Funded By:

The Australian Government

Partners:

Australian National University

Background:

Historical clearing of vegetation on farmlands throughout the Burnett Mary region has transformed the landscape from wooded areas to grassland, reducing biodiversity and species abundance in flora and fauna communities. To combat this, two pilot programs were announced in 2021 – the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot and Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot.

Both programs provide landholders with incentives to protect and enhance remnant vegetation on their land, while also aiming to put a value on these remnant ecosystems, highlighting the benefits associated with preserving them.

The Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot trials a market-based mechanism for farmers to provide biodiversity and carbon abatement services by establishing biodiverse environmental plantings. Over time, the aim is to create a credible market mechanism that improves biodiversity and climate outcomes and creates new income opportunities for farmers.

The Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot encourages and rewards participants for installing fencing, managing weeds and pest animals, and carrying out plantings on their land.

Pilot applications closed in June 2021. Eleven successful applicants from the region have been announced, with a second round to follow. These pilot programs are part of the Australian Government’s Agriculture Stewardship Package, which has been developed in partnership with the Australian National University (ANU).

Issue:

Historically, vegetation has been cleared on farmland transforming the landscape from wooded areas to grassland. This destruction or degradation of remnant vegetation on farmland across the Burnett and Mary catchment areas reduces biodiversity and species abundance in flora and fauna communities.

Solution:

Providing landholders with incentives to protect & enhance remnant vegetation on their land. Both Pilot projects aim to put a value on these remnant ecosystems and highlight the benefits associated with preserving them.

Project Scope:

The Pilot is a key component of the Australian Government’s $66.1 million Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package to help farmers improve on-farm biodiversity practices. This pilot aims to improve existing native vegetation on farms through locally adapted management protocols developed by the Australian National University in consultation with Natural Resource Management (NRM). Successful farmers could be eligible to receive payments to manage and enhance existing remnant native vegetation on-farm.

Work Done to Date:

Following applications to the ERV Pilot, twenty property visits and/or vegetation surveys have been carried out. BMRG worked with applicants to revise and amend management plans to best suit their potential project. Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud, announced first round of successful ERV Pilot projects with eleven projects across the Burnett and Mary catchments selected.

Future Work:

Successful applicants will now sign a contractual agreement before they can actively start their management plan. The second round of successful applicants is still to be announced. BMRG will help with support and monitoring for the applicants to best deliver their project.

To apply you must
Complete the application through the web portal accessed at agriculture.gov.au/agriculturestewardship
Applications open: 12th April 2021
Applications close: 11th June 2021

Questions regarding the application portal should be directed to the Agriculture Stewardship Program by email at: agstewardship@awe.gov.au or via phone at 1800 900 090.

You must submit an application via the web portal between the published opening and closing dates. Late applications will not be assessed but can be considered for future rounds of the pilot should sufficient funds remain.

More details on the activity timeframes once project applications are submitted can be found here [page 20 of guidelines].

Payment schedule

The project payment schedule for projects recognises that most costs associated with environmental plantings are incurred upfront. Biodiversity payments under the C+B Pilot will be made over the first 3 years of the project, dependent on when the option to initiate the project is exercised. All payments will be contingent on satisfying prescribed project milestones.

Payment for the carbon abatement will be based on ERF payment protocols.

More information

For more information on the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot please visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s).

Contact:

BMRG

P: 07 4181 2999

E: admin@bmrg.org.au