Indigenous Carbon Trading

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With the establishment of the Australian Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) – there are now opportunities for saleable carbon credits to be generated in the land sector, including through reforestation projects. As a result, Indigenous communities are showing interest in wanting to reforest their lands and benefit from broader economic and social opportunities.

A few years ago, GHD was commissioned by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities to raise awareness amongst Indigenous people about carbon trading. Initially, this was done by hosting a series of workshops around the country that provided valuable information on the technical, legal and financial issues involved.

Following on from this, our team completed studies to assess the feasibility of establishing a CFI reforestation project for four Indigenous communities – Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation in southwest Victoria, South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council in Western Australia, Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation in the Wet Tropics of Far North Queensland and Umpila Land Trust and Cape York Institute on the eastern side of the Cape York Peninsula.

According to GHD Project Director, Sue Salvin, "The feasibility studies are extremely beneficial in highlighting the opportunities and challenges of establishing a CFI reforestation project. We spent time in each of the communities to better understand their broad objectives for their country and to investigate the practicalities of planting trees. We then developed planting plans for each community and calculated potential revenue from carbon trading as well as potential costs."GHD has presented the results of these studies at a number of conferences including one on Climate Change Mitigation with Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples run by the UN University and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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