Adding or removing ETS forest land

You can alter your registered area of post-1989 forest land at any time. You must remove land that's no longer eligible to be registered from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) – for example, land that has been deforested. Learn how to make changes to your ETS forest land, and when you'll need to file an emissions return.

Add or remove a carbon accounting areas (CAA)

Carbon accounting areas (CAAs) are the basic area used to track carbon stock changes in post-1989 forests registered in the ETS. You earn and pay New Zealand Units (NZUs) based on changes in the carbon stock of each CAA.

  • You can add or remove CAAs from your registration at any time.
  • You cannot add more land to an existing CAA. To add forest land, you'll need to create a new CAA.
  • You must remove CAAs that are no longer eligible to be part of the ETS (for example, after deforestation).

Fees and charges apply.

If your land is subject to the Field Measurement Approach, you must meet specific requirements when adding or removing land from 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 Field Measurement Approach (FMA) guide.

FMA guide [PDF, 2 MB]

Make changes online

You can add or remove a CAA using MPI's ETS online system. Before you can use the system, you will need to:

  • be registered with the government online identification service RealMe
  • set up a login and password.


If you don't have a RealMe account, you'll be given the chance to set one up when you try to log in.

Adding or removing CAAs

Follow these steps to add or remove CAAs from the ETS.

1. Complete the relevant application form

Information you must provide includes:

  • participant name and New Zealand Emission Trading Register holding account number
  • the CAA number(s) for land being added, altered, or removed
  • details of any land being added – this includes land title, description, and ownership information
  • evidence of when the forest land was established (when adding a new CAA)
  • an electronic map file – in the form of a shapefile – if you're adding a CAA or removing part of a CAA.

Remove a CAA [PDF, 320 KB]

Remove land from a CAA [PDF, 304 KB]

Add a CAA [PDF, 413 KB]

2. Submit an emissions return if removing land

If you are removing land from the ETS, you must submit a mandatory emissions return (unit surrender) within 20 working days of removing land. Download the form, or use MPI's online ETS system to file.

Download the Emissions return (unit reconciliation) [PDF, 768 KB]

Emissions returns

Removing all your forest land from the ETS (deregistering)

If you want to deregister from the ETS, or if all your land no longer qualifies to be part of the scheme (for example, if it has been deforested) you will need to complete a participant deregistration form.

Download the post-1989 forest deregistration form [PDF, 278 KB]

You need to file an emissions return within 20 working days of deregistration, and repay the balance of NZUs that have been have allocated to the registered post-1989 forest land. Fees apply.

Download the emissions return (unit reconciliation) [PDF, 768 KB]

Emissions returns

Find out more

Climate Change Response Act 2002 – NZ Legislation

Climate Change (Forestry Sector) Regulations 2008 – NZ Legislation

Fees and charges

Who to contact

If you have questions about changes your ETS registration or transferring land:

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