Keeping sustainable landholders on sustainable land

An overview of the Project

Mitta RiverIt’s the most talked about issue of the decade: carbon emissions. Measurable increases in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by our heavy use of fossil fuels contributes to climate change. How can we reverse this trend, which threatens primary production and contributes to water scarcity?

It’s a pertinent question for Australian landholders given they’re in the firing line more than most. Notwithstanding climate change skeptics, there now exists a carbon trade market and it’s growing at an exponential rate. In fact, it’s expected to be worth up to $2.4 trillion worldwide by the year 2012.

For landholders this is a silver lining opportunity that represents the potential to earn extra income while simultaneously encouraging land regeneration and a return to ecological biodiversity – aspects that in themselves represent greater productivity and stock or crop revenue.

Matched by government and corporate backing, Landcare CarbonSMART®  is Australia’s leading not-for-profit carbon trading organisation and has the knowledge to leverage the market so that Australia’s landholders benefit. Now operating in all states and territories, the Landcare CarbonSMART®  model focuses on assisting rural landholders to regenerate land parcels not being used for agriculture.

The carbon absorbed by vegetation is calculated and sold to individuals and businesses to help them take responsibility for carbon emissions. Landcare CarbonSMART®  operates as a carbon pool with a majority percentage of sales paid to the landholder, a percentage to a recovery fund (in case of vegetation failure or unavoidable destruction cause by fire or disease) and a percentage to the management and operation of the pool. Landholders receive annual payments and, when the price of carbon rises, so too will payments to landholders. The value of carbon is predicted to grow strongly over the next decade.

Allowing for procedural differences in land title administration between the various states, the CarbonSMART®  registration process is the same across Australia.

 CarbonSMART®  is a project initiated by Landcare Australia Limited. Landcare Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that supports landcare, the country's biggest environmental volunteer movement. For more information on Landcare Australia please visit

CarbonSMART®  is also supported by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and corporate supporters, Westpac, Holden and Freehills. 

There are two Landcare CarbonSMART®  models: Pay as you Grow (PAYG) and Pay as you Sow (PAYS).

The PAYG scheme is currently underway with landholders already receiving revenue from exisiting revegetation projects on their land.

Landcare CarbonSMART® ’s PAYS scheme is for revegetation programs planned for the future. The PAYS scheme is currently being finalised and landholders planning new revegetation projects on their land are encouraged to contact Landcare CarbonSMART®  to register their interest.

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