When carbon accounting is paused for damaged post-1989 forest land
Forest land may be damaged by a natural or accidental event. If this happens to your post-1989 forest land in the ETS, you can apply to pause your carbon accounting responsibilities. This is known as a “temporary adverse event suspension”.
If you pause carbon accounting on your land, you are responsible for the forest being replanted or regenerated. If you do this successfully, you do not need to pay (surrender) New Zealand Units (NZUs or units) for the emissions from the damage.
Find out about applying to pause carbon accounting when your forest is temporarily damaged
Two criteria for carbon accounting to restart after a pause
The criteria for carbon accounting to restart on the land are that:
- the forest has been “re-established”, and
- the forest reaches the same amount of carbon it had before the event.
Re-established means there are enough trees on the land that will grow to a certain size. Forest land is considered to be re-established when it has trees growing on it that reach, or are likely to reach, more than 30% crown cover.
Your forest can be re-established through planting or natural regeneration. The new trees don't need to be the same species as the damaged forest.
Once the re-established areas store as much carbon as they did before the event, the pause in accounting ends. From this point, you are liable for any emissions as normal. You can also earn units again.
Reporting on the progress of your damaged forest
Based on the criteria above, there are 2 stages when you must update us about your forest. You must submit notices:
- 4 years after the event date, telling us how much of the forest has been re-established, and
- when the amount of carbon stored in the forest reaches the same amount per hectare as before the event.
The date that is 4 years after the event is known as the re-establishment date. This date will usually pass before the forest recovers the amount of carbon it had before the event. Either way, you must submit these notices in the order these stages occur.
The suspension ends when both notices have been submitted.
Submitting emissions returns while carbon accounting is paused
While accounting liabilities are paused, you still need to include your damaged land in emissions returns. However, you do not need to pay (surrender) units for any emissions reported for this land. You also cannot earn any units from increases in carbon on this land.
If your forest recovers the amount of carbon it needs to before the re-establishment date, you don’t need to complete emissions returns for this land between submitting the 2 notices. The exception to this is if you apply to move the land from standard to permanent forestry, or from permanent forestry to standard. You still need to complete the emissions return with this application.
Find out more about when you need to submit emissions returns
Tell us how much of the forest is re-established 4 years after the event
Four years after the event date, you must submit a re-establishment notice. The notice is due within 60 working days of the re-establishment date.
In the notice, you must tell us about the status of the land on the re-establishment date. This means identifying:
- the areas that are successfully re-established (have trees growing that have, or are likely to have, more than 30% crown cover)
- any areas that have not been re-established
- if the event was of natural causes, any areas of permanently affected land (where the event has permanently prevented forest from being re-established).
For each of your affected carbon accounting areas, you need to split these 3 kinds of land into new carbon accounting areas. Before you can split areas in the ETS, you must complete an emissions return to update the unit balance. As accounting has been paused for this land, the unit balance will not have changed since your emissions return when you applied for a suspension. However, you must still calculate the increase or decrease in carbon since your last emissions return.
The form below includes the emissions return you need to submit, and instructions for how to complete it.
Once you’ve completed the emissions return, you must calculate the opening unit balance for your newly formed carbon accounting areas.
To submit your re-establishment notice, use the form below. You can upload the form to Tupu-ake – Forestry ETS online services or submit it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Re-establishment notice – form [PDF, 521 KB]
After you submit your re-establishment notice, areas that are re-established are treated differently to those that aren’t.
Find out more about what happens once you submit your re-establishment notice
Tell us the forest land has recovered the amount of carbon it stored before the event
You need to keep track of how much carbon your forest stores while accounting is paused. This is because you must submit a notice when it has the same amount per hectare as it did before the event. This is called a “carbon recovery notice”. The amount of carbon per hectare that your forest needs to store is the amount you calculated in your original application. This is known as the “pre-event carbon stock rate”.
You must submit this notice with your next emissions return that:
- includes the relevant land, and
- covers a period ending on 31 December.
Submit your carbon recovery notice using the form below when you submit the emissions return. You can upload the form to Tupu-ake – Forestry ETS online services or submit it by email to email@example.com
Carbon recovery notice – form [PDF, 298 KB]
Different carbon accounting areas may recover this amount of carbon at different times. This means you may need to submit multiple carbon recovery notices for the same event, with different carbon accounting areas in each notice.
What happens once you submit your carbon recovery notice depends on whether you’ve already submitted your re-establishment notice.
Find out what happens after you submit your carbon recovery notice
How to calculate when your forest land has recovered the amount of carbon it had before the event
The carbon stock per hectare is known as the “carbon stock rate”. To calculate the carbon stock rate of a carbon accounting area, you must first calculate the total amount of carbon in that area. You need to calculate this for the end date of the period covered in the emissions return you’re submitting the notice with. This will always be 31 December of the relevant year. This means that, for your calculations, you must count the age of the trees to the following year.
When you do these calculations, you must use the same carbon tables from the regulations that you used to calculate the pre-event carbon stock. This applies even if you have participant-specific tables.
View the current carbon tables at the link below. If these have changed since you first applied to pause your accounting, you’ll need to find the previous version on the New Zealand Legislation website.
Tables of carbon stock per hectare for post-1989 forest land – NZ Legislation