Changing carbon accounting areas after land enters the ETS
When post-1989 forest land enters the ETS, the person who registers it chooses 1 or more carbon accounting areas. Choosing carbon accounting areas is a way to divide the land for reporting in the ETS. When you submit emissions returns, you report on the change in the amount of carbon for each carbon accounting area.
Read more about choosing carbon accounting areas
After land enters the ETS, you may wish to change or "reconfigure" these carbon accounting areas.
Reconfiguring carbon accounting areas means:
- dividing a carbon accounting area into 2 or more areas, and/or
- merging carbon accounting areas into 1 area.
You can reconfigure any carbon accounting areas, as long as they still meet the requirements in our mapping standard.
However, some carbon accounting areas cannot be merged with others.
When you can't reconfigure carbon accounting areas
You cannot merge:
- carbon accounting areas of standard forestry with areas of permanent forestry
- carbon accounting areas registered under averaging accounting with areas that use stock change accounting.
Applying to reconfigure carbon accounting areas
To reconfigure the carbon accounting areas on your post-1989 forest land in the ETS, you must:
- list the carbon accounting areas you wish to reconfigure
- supply a map showing how these areas will change
- complete an emissions return for the original carbon accounting areas
- calculate new unit balances for the reconfigured areas.
You do not need to pay a fee for the processing of this emissions return.
To split carbon accounting areas, complete the application form. Upload the form to the ETS online system, Tupu-ake. You can split multiple carbon accounting areas in one application. The new areas must meet the requirements outlined on this page.
Apply to split carbon accounting areas [PDF, 536 KB]
If you want to merge existing carbon accounting areas, contact us at email@example.com. We'll advise on what you'll need to do.
Requirements for mapping the reconfigured areas
Submit the map of the reconfigured carbon accounting areas as a shapefile. This shapefile must comply with the mapping standard.
For example, each reconfigured carbon accounting area must:
- be at least 1 hectare
- have an average width of at least 30 metres.
You must provide new carbon accounting area numbers for the reconfigured areas.
The guidance on our website and in the ETS online system, Tupu-ake, explains how to meet the mapping standard.
Download the Geospatial Mapping Information Standard [PDF, 530 KB]
Read our online guidance about mapping forest land in the ETS
The land in the reconfigured carbon accounting area or areas must cover the same land as the existing carbon accounting area or areas.
- You cannot use an application to reconfigure carbon accounting areas to add more land into the ETS. You must submit a separate application to add land into the ETS.
- You cannot remove land from the ETS in an application to reconfigure areas. Removing land is a separate transaction. You must submit a separate application to remove land from the ETS.
If you want to add or remove land at the same time as reconfiguring carbon accounting areas, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out about applying to add more post-1989 forest land into the ETS
Find out about removing post-1989 forest land from the ETS
Reconfiguring carbon accounting areas in permanent forestry
Post-1989 forest land registered as permanent forestry stays in the ETS as permanent forestry for at least 50 years. You can merge areas of permanent forestry whose 50-year periods started on different dates. The later date will apply to the whole of the new carbon accounting area.
Read more about the rules for post-1989 forest land registered as permanent forestry
Reconfiguring carbon accounting areas of land approved to offset post-1989 forest land
You can apply to use land to offset the liabilities from removing post-1989 forest land from the ETS.
If the land has been approved as post-1989 offsetting land:
- you can split carbon accounting areas within the land approved as offsetting land
- you can merge areas approved as offsetting land, if they are part of the same offsetting application and meant to offset the same carbon accounting area
- if a natural event permanently damages part of the land so forest cannot regenerate or be replanted on it, you can split carbon accounting areas to remove the damaged land
- if part of the carbon accounting area has had accounting paused for temporary damage, you must split it to separate out the damaged land.
You cannot merge post-1989 offsetting land with other post-1989 forest land until it stops being offsetting land.
Reconfiguring carbon accounting areas where accounting is paused following temporary damage
If forest land is damaged, you can apply to pause accounting responsibilities. This is called a temporary adverse event suspension.
If accounting is paused for carbon accounting areas:
- you can split the carbon accounting areas
- if a natural event permanently damages part of the land, you can split carbon accounting areas to remove the damaged land
- you can split carbon accounting areas to remove land that is damaged by a different event
- you must split carbon accounting areas if you need to remove some of the land from the ETS, for example if you deforest the land.
You cannot merge damaged land with other post-1989 forest land while accounting is paused.
Find out more about applying to pause carbon accounting after temporary damage to forest land