Using the Field Measurement Approach

If you have 100 hectares or more of post-1989 forest land registered in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), you must use the Field Measurement Approach (FMA) to calculate your forest's carbon stocks. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.


Using the Field Measurement Approach (FMA)

The Field Measurement Approach (FMA) is a method used to calculate how much carbon is in post-1989 forest land (the 'carbon stock') from information you collect about your forest. The information you collect is used to calculate a set of look-up tables specific to your forest.

You must use the FMA if you:

  • have 100 hectares or more of post-1989 forest land registered in the ETS at any time during a mandatory emissions return period, or
  • hold a covenant in the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI) subject to the FMA, and have a forest sink area of 100 hectares or more at any time during a mandatory emissions return period.

Owners of smaller forest land areas (less than 100 hectares) must use the look-up tables in the Climate Change (Forestry Sector) Regulations 2008 to assess their carbon stocks.

Why you have to use the FMA

The look-up tables in the Regulations give values for forest carbon stocks based on forest age and regionally- or nationally-averaged growth factors. They don't reflect New Zealand's diverse growing conditions at the individual forest level. Variation in forest growth affects how much carbon a forest stores. The participant-specific tables provide the estimated carbon stock levels of the specific forests subject to the FMA.   

How the FMA works

MPI assigns post-1989 forest owners who are subject to the FMA a set of sample plot locations for their forest. Using rules in the FMA Standard and the FMA Information Standard, you must then collect information which characterises the forest at these plot locations.

MPI uses this information to create participant-specific look-up tables for the carbon stocks on your forest land. You then use these tables to calculate the carbon stock of your forest.

Other obligations for land subject to the FMA

If your land is subject to the FMA, you must meet specific requirements when adding or removing land to your ETS registration. For example, you may need to reapply for sample plots, or get an updated set of specific carbon tables. For more information, see section 5 of the FMA guide.

Download the FMA guide [PDF, 2.3 MB]

Temporary exemptions from the FMA process

You can apply for a temporary waiver from FMA requirements if – for reasons beyond your control – you can't comply in time to get your specific carbon tables. You will need to justify why FMA requirements can't be met.

Find out more

The legal requirements relating to the FMA for post-1989 forests in the ETS are set out in:

Who to contact

To contact MPI about the FMA:

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