Projects under this method can earn you Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) when you plant a permanent forest or harvest plantation on land that's previously been used for grazing or cropping.

When to use this method

The farm forestry plantations method may be suitable for your business if:

  • you can plant and grow trees as a permanent planting or new farm forestry plantation (commercial harvesting is allowed)
  • the tree planting area was used for grazing or cropping, or was empty land, in the last 5 years
  • you have or can access forestry expertise.

For more information and details on projects under this method, you can refer to our full measurement based methods for new farm forestry plantations method guide.


To be eligible, projects must:

  • be located within Australia
  • be established:
    • on or after 1 July 2010, if a new farm forestry project
    • between 2001 and 30 June 2010, if an accredited forestry project under Australian Government’s Greenhouse FriendlyTM initiative.
  • Include land used for grazing or cropping, or land left empty between grazing or cropping, for at least 5 years before the project starts
  • satisfy Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) rainfall map criteria:
    • plantations can occupy an area up to 100 hectares, or 30% of a farm (whichever is smaller) if rainfall is more than 400 mm annually
    • plantations can occupy an area up to 300 hectares, or 30% of a farm (whichever is smaller) if rainfall is less than 400 mm annually.
  • meeting the subsequent size requirements for the rainfall area.

You must also meet general eligibility requirements for the Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 3 of the Act
  • Part 2 of the method


You must not remove trees from any project area except for trees required to be removed by law.

Prescribed weeds and non-native forest trees less must not be removed, unless it:

  • covers a total land area that represents less than 5% of the area, as measured by crown cover
  • isn't less than 2 metres in height.

These can then be removed at any time from project commencement to 6 months after planting.

Relevant legislation

  • Section 4.3 of the method

Method requirements

Amendments were made to reduce the regulatory burden for potential applicants in higher rainfall areas.

The amendments identify regional areas with higher rainfall where tree planting won't have an adverse impact on water availability.

New plantations or expanded plantations in these regions are taken to pass the water requirements and won’t require further assessment by the relevant water authorities to be registered under this method.

These regions are subject to updates. The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) publishes specified regions maps.

Under this method, you can establish and maintain trees as permanent plantings or in harvest plantations. Activities vary depending on the type of planting.

Before you begin a project, you need to identify an area for your project and divide it into one or more smaller areas. These are the strata or carbon estimation areas (CEAs).

You must:

  • establish a network of sampling plots in each stratum
  • develop a sampling plan.

The sampling plan must include:

  • plot location
  • size
  • shape.

We use the sampling plots to estimate the amount of carbon stored by your project trees.

In certain circumstances, a permanent planting project may be changed to a harvest project, but harvest projects can’t be changed to permanent planting projects.

Projects under this method are under permanence obligations.

Permanent plantings

You must maintain plantings to reach and maintain 20% crown cover for permanent plantings projects.

Trees can be planted as:

  • as seedlings or from seeds
  • as belt or block plantings
  • at a density that can achieve forest cover.

Trees must be able to:

  • grow at least 2 metres tall
  • reach a minimum crown cover of 20% of the area.

You can't remove project trees once established unless:

  • you need samples to calculate how much carbon is stored
  • it's necessary for managing natural disturbances, such as flood, fire, drought or disease
  • under a harvest project.
Plantations for harvest

You must propose a specific management regime for harvest plantations. It can include:

  • planting
  • weed control
  • harvesting
  • debris removal
  • the length of time between planting and harvesting.

After harvesting, you must re-establish the project trees by planting, seeding or coppice regrowth, and begin a new management regime cycle.

This cycle must continue for the life of the harvest project. You must use DCCEEWs Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM) tool for projected carbon stocks.

Relevant legislation
  • Section 2.6 of the method
  • Part 4 of the method

You need to have or be able to access forestry expertise.

Relevant legislation
  • Section 13(f) of the rule

25 years

Relevant legislation
  • Part 5 of the Act

Abatement is calculated in each reporting period and use calculations listed in division 6.2 of the method.

To calculate net abatement, subtract total project emissions from the total change in carbon stored in the trees (carbon stock).

Project emissions occur from:

  • fuel use
  • fires from carbon stock.

The change in carbon stock is determined by taking the difference between the carbon stocks at the beginning and at the end of the reporting period.

Carbon stocks are estimated by combining physical measurements of trees with FullCAM data. These tree measurements are taken during a carbon inventory and can include:

  • stem diameter
  • tree height
  • crown dimensions.

You can also include carbon stored in forest litter and fallen dead wood in carbon stock estimates.

If you have a harvest plantation project, you can use FullCAM to calculate the predicted project average carbon stocks (PPACS). This predicts what the average carbon stocks will be over the lifespan of the project.

Relevant legislation
  • Division 6.2 of the method
  • Part 5 and 6 of the method

Project areas can be monitored using:

  • on-ground inspections and surveys
  • remote monitoring, such as interpretation of aerial or satellite imagery.

You should monitor any changes or disturbances. This ensures that project trees reach, or have the potential to reach, height and crown cover requirements.

You must also meet the general monitoring requirements of the Act.

Relevant legislation
  • Part 17 of the Act
  • Section 7.2 of the method

You must keep records of:

  • strata descriptions, locations and area
  • sampling plans
  • project tree measures and allometric functions
  • carbon stock calculations
  • fuel use
  • quality assurance and control measures.

You must also meet record-keeping requirements of the Act and the rule.

Relevant legislation
  • Part 17 of the Act
  • Part 17 of the rule
  • Division 7.3 of the method

Your reports must contain:

  • project type and management regime
  • strata locations and descriptions
  • sampling plans
  • emissions, carbon stocks and abatement calculations
  • FullCAM modelling and allometric functions
  • growth disturbances
  • fuel use
  • quality assurance and control measures.

Your first report must contain information relating to:

  • the history of land use and forest cover
  • descriptions of the project area and strata.

You must also remember to meet reporting requirements of the Act and the rule.

Relevant legislation
  • Part 6 of the Act
  • Part 6 of the rule
  • Division 7.4 of the method

We provide you with an audit schedule when your project's declared.

You must provide audit reports according to this schedule.

We schedule at least 3 audits and additional audits can be triggered.

You can refer to our audit information to find out more.

Relevant legislation
  • Part 19 of the Act
  • Part 6 of the rule