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Joint effort gives forest growers greater scope

TreeSmart has teamed with Australian Forest Growers to introduce a new AFG-TreeSmart program.
AFG and TreeSmart have mutual interests in providing services and opportunities for farm foresters in Australia. AFG has long been the first point of call for farm foresters seeking information or assistance in establishing or developing farm forestry plantations. TreeSmart has developed a growing reputation for representing the interests of small farm foresters in the emerging issues associated with carbon offsets and the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS). TreeSmart remains the only carbon offset organisation in Australia dealing in plantations that are destined for eventual harvesting.
In the past few years, AFG and TreeSmart have developed a working relationship on several fronts.
AFG recently launched a web portal, MarkeTree, which provides an online resource for Australian forest growers in a number of different areas, including carbon offset trading. Discussions between TreeSmart and AFG indicated that a collaborative undertaking wasthe best way to handle the carbon offset trading activities, with mutual benefits for AFG, TreeSmart and Australian forest growers.
The TreeSmart program aims to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by planting, maintaining, harvesting and re-planting farm forestry eucalypt trees. The TreeSmart program is different to some other carbon sequestration programs that plant trees and leave them unmaintained as a perpetual forest. Research by TreeSmart Australia has shown that plantations that are harvested on a regular rotation can absorb more CO2 over their lifetime than can a perpetual forest, when one counts the carbon still sequestered in timber products derived from the plantation, or the reduction in fossil fuel use as a result of using the harvested timber as fuelwood. They can also do this more cost-effectively because the cost of planting in subsidised by the revenue obtained from the harvest.
The TreeSmart program started by selling subscriptions to Australian travellers (motorists, air travellers, conference attendees) to enable the CO2 emissions from their travel to be absorbed (sequestered) in eucalypt trees grown by farm foresters for eventual harvesting and replanting. As the scope of carbon offsetting has grown, TreeSmart now offsets emissions from any activities.