Carbon Farming Knowledge

Release of draft soil carbon method for public consultation

The Department of the Environment and Energy has released a new draft method – Measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems – for public consultation. Submissions on the draft method close on 2 October 2017.

The draft method provides an opportunity for landholders and businesses to earn Australian Carbon Credit Units by managing their land in a way that could lead to an increase in soil organic carbon. The draft method uses direct measurement to detect changes in soil carbon and a regression approach to attribute that change to human activity. The method provides for project proponents to be credited with this change, subject to discounts and buffers.

The new draft method contains elements adapted from the two existing soil carbon methods. The major differences include:

  • an increased range of eligible farming systems including cropping, grazing and horticultural production systems;
  • an improved soil sampling strategy to reduce the uncertainty of soil carbon estimates;
  • allowing the use of soil amendments containing biochar and accounting for other additives that may contain carbon including clay;
  • an additional measurement option allowing for estimation of carbon stocks using in-field or laboratory sensors and associated models, as well as the current combustion techniques;
  • a ten year baseline period; and
  • use of a land management strategy, to be developed or reviewed by an independent person.

The proposed differences are designed to increase integrity and flexibility while reducing costs and complexity.

Existing ERF projects under the existing sequestering carbon in soils in grazing systems method, would be able to apply to transfer to the measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural method, if the new method is made.

More Information on the draft method and instructions on how to provide a submission are available at the Department’s website.

More about the measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems metho

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