CarbonTender – Paying Landholders to Create Greenhouse Sinks
CarbonTender is an innovative Victorian State Government revegetation project designed to purchase "carbon rights" from private landowners by paying landholders to create "greenhouse sinks". Landholders are required to permanently revegetate at least two hectares of land to predetermined Ecological Vegetation Class standards including the full suite of life forms from large overstorey trees to small shrubs. There is no limit placed on the maximum size of sites and preference is given to sites that buffer or link existing areas of remnant vegetation. Strategic placement of revegetation sites in the landscape will hope to increase the resilience of natural ecosystems in a changing climate as well as contributing to other positive environmental outcomes such as improved water quality, reduced erosion and provide pathways for genetic exchange across isolated populations.
Landholders are invited to submit a competitive bid and the site is assessed on its dollar per tonne of carbon per hectare value. Carbon scores are generated using the Australian Greenhouse Office's Fullcam tool. Bids are ranked in dollar value from the cheapest to most expensive, with offers made to the most competitive bids. The tender based system rewards innovative landholders who can revegetate their site for minimal cost. Landholders who sign the CarbonTender "Landowner" Revegetation Agreement then have five years to revegetate the site to agreed standards. Payments for milestones reached in terms of revegetation are made over 5 years following signing of the agreement. The revegetated sites are placed on title and will impact on future landowners use of the site.
Landholders are responsible for establishing the vegetation with the bid money used to purchase the service of relevant contractors such as fencing contractors, nurseries and pest plant and animal controllers and pay for seed or seedlings. Plant species lists are incorporated into the agreement with a requirement for locally sourced seed. Landholders can use either tube stock or direct seeding or if possible can physically manipulate the site to encourage natural regeneration processes to occur. Landholders who can establish vegetation cheaply can profit from the project by having residual funds once vegetation is established.