• The Australian Farm Biodiversity Stewardship Pilot aims to pay farmers for biodiversity in combination with planting trees for carbon gains
  • The Burnett Mary region is leading the charge for Queensland
  • The pilot gives farmers the chance to diversify their income and make their businesses drought-resilient

The Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot (the Pilot) is an exciting opportunity for farmers in the Burnett Mary region that will see landholders being paid for the biodiversity benefits of mixed-species tree plantings as part of their carbon projects.

The Burnett Mary Regional Group for Natural Resource Management (BMRG) is facilitating the delivery of the Pilot in the Burnett Mary region. Nick Maclean is leading the initiative for BMRG to advise and support farmers through the application process.

BMRG CEO Sheila Charlesworth said her group was thrilled to be part of the pilot and farmers should take advantage of this new opportunity.

“We will assist the farmers in our region to be part of this groundbreaking pilot, which will deliver a premium price whilst also rewarding them for protecting our natural resources.”

The online portal, launching today, will be the platform for registering applications.

Once the application has been approved and the project delivered, participants will be able to receive Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) for the carbon sequestered in the plantings under the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Participants will be able to sell the ACCUs to the Australian Government or other buyers, which would provide an additional source of revenue for the projects.

The Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot is a component of the Australian Government’s $34 million Agriculture Stewardship Package, which has been developed in partnership with the Australian National University (ANU).

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the Carbon+Biodiversity pilot is a great initiative for farmers.

“Farmers have been doing biodiversity and carbon work for decades and it’s time they were paid for it. They can already participate in carbon markets under the Emissions Reduction Fund, but today we will start trialing a new approach that will also see them paid for the biodiversity benefits they deliver.

ANU Professor Andrew Macintosh said planting blocks or shelterbelts of 20 metres or wider using one of the lists of native plant species created for this pilot would see farmers paid for biodiversity, linked with carbon gains.

For more details please go to https://bmrg.org.au/portfolio-items/carbonbiodiversity/ to check your eligibility.