Consultation begins on forest carbon measurement approach

Consultation has opened on a proposed new approach for owners of post-1989 forest to more accurately assess the carbon absorbed by their trees.

Under proposed regulations open for consultation today, everyone with 100 hectares or more of post-1989, or “Kyoto” forest, in the Emissions Trading Scheme or Permanent Forest Sink Initiative will be required to use the measurement-based approach for determining the carbon stored in their forests, and hence the carbon credits they can claim.

MAF Sustainable Programmes Director Clive Lilley says the proposed approach allows for greater accuracy and fairness than the current look-up table approach, which is based on nationally or regionally-averaged forest data.

“The proposal – the field measurement approach - uses techniques and expertise forest owners already employ to estimate the volume of timber in their trees.

“Owners of forests which are absorbing carbon more quickly than the average rate will get more credits than they currently do, while the Crown is at less risk of giving out more credits nationally than are warranted by the carbon being removed from the atmosphere.”

Mr Lilley says smaller forests will continue to use the existing look-up tables in the regulations because the additional compliance costs or measurement would be disproportionate to the income generated from the sale of carbon credits.

Consultation also covers introduction of look-up tables for aspects of indigenous forest harvest and deforestation not already covered by existing tables, and other proposed minor and technical amendments to the regulations.

“I would encourage all forest owners with an interest in carbon forestry to look at what is proposed and give us your feedback.”

Consultation closes at 5pm on Tuesday 16 November 2010.

A consultation document is available from www.maf.govt.nz/consultation

For more information, contact:
Iain Butler | Senior Communications Adviser | 04 894 0471; 029 894 0471 | iain.butler@maf.govt.nz

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