Expansion of forestry plantations and trees on farms are a likely outcome in an emerging carbon market as the economy looks for pathways to achieve net-zero emissions.
The Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub has released a report it commissioned with The University of South Australia titled, “Unlocking Opportunities for Plantation Forestry Expansion in the Green Triangle: The Role of the Emissions Reduction Fund”, a report which provides looks at the potential role emerging carbon markets could play in future forestry expansion, based on the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).
This report specifically focuses on the 3.4 million hectare region that straddles South East South Australia and South Western Victorian better known as the Green Triangle region.
The report authored by Dr. Courtney M. Regan and Prof. Jeffery D. Connor from The University of South Australia identifies that a carbon price of $50 per tonne of CO2e has the potential to unlock up to 121,000 hectares of additional softwood plantations.
GTFIH chair Cam MacDonald said the report was aligned to a key aspect of the Hub’s Strategic Plan ‘Stewardship for Future Generations’ and that the findings clearly demonstrate the interconnectedness between the price of carbon and softwood plantation establishment.
“Forestry is probably the most proven technology for sequestering CO2,” he said.
“Any expansion of the softwood plantation estate would not only provide for the sequestration of additional carbon but also create substantial additional economic benefit in the Green Triangle region through job creation.”
“The carbon price is just one factor in the ability to establish forestry however carbon currently trades at about $30/CO2e which when combined with the current high prices for land challenges the profitability of establishing new plantations.”
“A price of $50 per tonne of CO2e paid as the forest grows would provide a revenue stream for land-owners that is more aligned with the income they generate from their other farming activities, topped up with the returns they receive when the trees are harvested. I would hope that establishing forestry plantations becomes a common outcome from those considerations.”
“This would provide a win for the community, a win for the environment and a win for economic prosperity in the region,” Cam said.
To learn more, download the report here