Savanna fire management draft methods - consultation

Two draft savanna fire management methods were open for public consultation from Monday 21 November to Monday 19 December 2016:

  • Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Savanna Fire Management—Sequestration and Emissions Avoidance) Methodology Determination 2017 (draft sequestration method);
  • Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Savanna Fire Management—Emissions Avoidance) Methodology Determination 2017 (draft emissions avoidance method).

The draft methods build on earlier savanna methods.

Both draft methods set out the rules for managing fire in Australia’s savannas and enable businesses to earn Australian Carbon Credit Units. The draft sequestration method credits both carbon sequestered in dead organic matter and also avoided greenhouse gas emissions. The draft emissions avoidance method only credits avoided emissions. One project area can only be registered under one savanna fire management method at any one time.

The draft emissions avoidance method will replace the existing Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Emissions Abatement through Savanna Fire Management) Methodology Determination 2015, which will be revoked. Existing projects can choose to either remain on their current determination or transfer to one of the new draft determinations, once they have been made.

The draft methods are accompanied by a new savanna technical guidance document which provides guidance on many technical aspects of the draft methods.

The draft methods also include a number of differences to the current 2015 method. These are summarised in the Savanna Consultation—Overview document.

Savanna Consultation—Overview (PDF - 240.53 KB)
Savanna Consultation—Overview (DOCX - 61.48 KB)

Public consultation workshop

As part of our consultation, the Department held a workshop in Darwin on 23 and 24 November 2016.

If you were unable to attend the workshop but would like to discuss the methods, please email us at: savanna@environment.gov.au

Submissions received

The following non-confidential submissions were received through the public consultation process

About these methods

The draft emissions avoidance method provides the rules for crediting emissions reductions achieved through appropriate management of fire in savanna across northern Australia.

The draft sequestration method provides the rules for crediting the increase in carbon stored in dead organic matter as well as crediting emissions reductions — also through the same project activity of appropriate management of fire in savanna.

A savanna technical guidance document provides guidance on a number of technical matters relevant for both draft methods. The draft methods also work together with proposed amendments to the CFI Rule to credit abatement. For the draft methods (once finalised after public consultation) to operate, both the methods and the Rule Amendment must be endorsed by the Minister.

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Background

The draft methods build on the original savanna fire management determination made in 2012, the 2013 variation and the current 2015 method. All three credit avoided emissions of methane and nitrous oxide by increasing the proportion of area burnt in the early dry season compared with the average over a baseline period.

Further research has allowed some refinements to how avoided emissions are calculated in both draft methods. Research has also shown that savanna fire management can lead to additional carbon being stored in the landscape through the accumulation of dead organic matter. The draft sequestration method will allow projects to receive credits for carbon sequestered in the dead organic matter in addition to credits received for emissions avoided. It will be the first method under the ERF that allows crediting both sequestration and emissions avoidance resulting from the same project activity in a single project area.

One particularly important aspect of all sequestration methods is the requirement for sequestered carbon to be stored permanently. This means that projects must continue to store carbon in the landscape for at least the duration of their permanence period (either 25 or 100 years). There are a number of additional obligations with which project proponents must comply.

The Department is seeking some specific feedback on a number of the mechanisms within the draft methods. Some specific ‘Questions for Public Input’ are in the draft Explanatory Statements.

Who could benefit?

These draft methods could benefit land owners and managers in the high and low rainfall zones of Australia’s savannas. Appropriate savanna fire management can earn project proponents Australian Carbon Credit Units, as well as providing other benefits. These include biodiversity, social, cultural and economic benefits.

How do they work?

The draft methods require participants to manage fire in their projects so carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in dead organic matter and/or avoiding emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from the burning of savanna.

Emissions reductions for both draft methods are calculated by comparing the emissions produced in each project year, with the average annual emissions produced during the baseline years for the project.

For the draft sequestration method, sequestration is calculated by comparing the equilibrium level of carbon stored in dead organic matter during the baseline period, with the equilibrium achieved during the relevant calculation period. The draft method then credits the difference between these equilibrium levels and spreads the credits over the 25 year crediting period.

A revised version of the Savanna Burning Abatement tool (SavBAT 3) is being developed that will calculate both emissions avoidance and sequestration abatement using the two draft methods.

Eligibility

The following requirements must be met for a project to be eligible under these draft methods:

  • The project must involve appropriate fire management, as described in the draft methods.
  • The project has created and validated a vegetation fuel type map.
  • The project has developed and follows a fire management plan, updated at least yearly.
  • All relevant weeds identified in the savanna technical guidance document are managed in accordance with State and Territory laws.
  • For sequestration projects, all eligible interest holder consents for the new or transferring project must be obtained before the project is approved.

Monitoring, reporting and auditing

It is important to keep project records because you will need to submit regular reports on your project, including reporting on your net abatement. This includes a fire management plan, which must be updated at least annually.

Projects must be audited by a registered greenhouse and energy (NGERS) auditor. A list of registered auditors is available on the Clean Energy Regulator website.

Draft determinations and supporting documents

Sequestration Method

Sequestration and Emissions Avoidance (PDF - 577.98 KB)
Sequestration and Emissions Avoidance (DOCX - 136.32 KB)

Sequestration and Emissions Avoidance - Explanatory statement (PDF - 843.48 KB)
Sequestration and Emissions Avoidance - Explanatory statement (DOCX - 194.08 KB)

Emissions Avoidance Method

Emissions Avoidance (PDF - 539.02 KB)
Emissions Avoidance (DOCX - 130.6 KB)

Emissions Avoidance - Explanatory statement (PDF - 286.35 KB)
Emissions Avoidance - Explanatory statement (DOCX - 153.9 KB)

Supporting documents for both methods

Savanna Consultation—Overview document

This is a high level overview of the draft savanna fire management methods.

Savanna Consultation—Overview (PDF - 240.53 KB)
Savanna Consultation—Overview (DOCX - 61.48 KB)

FAQs

A series of questions and answers.

Savanna FAQs (PDF - 196.8 KB)
Savanna FAQs (DOCX - 66.16 KB)

Savanna technical guidance document

The savanna technical guidance document provides technical guidance for users of both draft methods, including on: classifying vegetation; developing and validating vegetation maps; parameters to use for calculating abatement; monitoring weeds; and fire management plans.

Savanna Technical Guidance Document (PDF - 706.21 KB)
Savanna Technical Guidance Document (DOCX - 686.37 KB)

Savanna science summary

This is an overview of some of the research related to the development of the two draft methods and ongoing research that may inform future amendments to the savanna technical guidance document and future methods.

Savanna science summary (PDF - 116.82 KB)
Savanna science summary (DOCX - 31.12 KB)

CFI Rule Amendment

The CFI Rule draft amendment works with the draft methods. It is important to consider the Rule amendment and it’s Explanatory Statement, together with the draft methods.

Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Amendment Rule 2017 (No. 1) (PDF - 271.3 KB)
Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Amendment Rule 2017 (No. 1) (DOCX - 80.85 KB)

Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Amendment Rule 2017 (No. 1) - explanatory statement (PDF - 121.36 KB)
Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Amendment Rule 2017 (No. 1) - explanatory statement (DOCX - 55.68 KB)

Further information on the Rule is contained within the Savanna Consultation—Overview document and on the Rule amendment web-page: Amendments to the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Rule 2015.

Further information

Department of the Environment

Email: savanna@environment.gov.au