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Kim Boettcher continues to explain the operations and benefits of the carbonSMART project.
Some areas of Australia have reported great benefits from replanting. One farmer described having the desert at his back door in Tammin Western Australia until a community effort of planting replaced the encroaching desert with fields of green. Another famer near Cowra NSW thought the planting should have been done earlier, even though the planting was eight years old. Other reports point to reduced erosion, the return of groundcover, an increase in wildlife, lower veterinary bills and an improved microclimate.
Above and below: These photographs show how one planting has changed the landscape.
The benefits are long-term because CarbonSMART has a legal requirement for the trees to be kept for at least 70 years, a target that is in keeping with the proposed National Emissions Trading Scheme due to begin in 2010. CarbonSMART landholders are paid for the sequestering of carbon in the plant system. This happens for the first 30 years of tree growth and is based on detailed carbon calculations from forestry experts.
All new sites are inspected by nationally trained site assessors, who identify local plant species, inspect the site and map it with a hand-held GPS. Catchment Management Authorities and natural resource management groups are now showing interest in these site inspections and it is hoped that carbonSMART will be part of a national initiative run by the Department of Climate Change.
Kim Boettcher point out that the project is backed up by a website. Interested people should log on to www.carbonsmart.com.au for further information.