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New Scoping Indigenous Carbon Report Launched

ICIN is proud to launch its landmark report: Mapping the Opportunities for Indigenous Carbon in Australia.

The report, co-authored by spatial scientist Jarrad Holmes and legal advisor Polly Grace for ICIN; required detailed analysis and layering of both Indigenous land tenure maps; carbon method types available and current distribution of carbon projects through data available under through the Clean Energy Regulator Emissions Reduction Fund.

The results clearly demonstrate that there is a very strong link between supporting and resourcing Indigenous-led design of carbon methods and the successful implementation of Indigenous-owned carbon projects.

Furthermore, that recognition of Indigenous rights and interests in carbon and supporting early engagement with Traditional Owners is key to realizing key benefits brought by Indigenous-owned carbon projects.

Key Recommendations

Key Recommendations of the Report include the need to:

  1. Expand the application of Emissions Reduction Fund methods within the Indigenous estate
    a) Expand the Savanna Fire Management Methods
    b) Appropriate development of the Integrated Farm Management Method
    c) Expand the Blue Carbon Method beyond the Agricultural Zone

  2. Build capability in Indigenous organisations

  3. Targeted method and organisational engagement
    a) Fine scale spatial analysis in the Agricultural (east and west) Zones
    b) Human Induced Regeneration Method in the Rangelands (west) Zone
    c) Supporting projects in the Savanna and Desert Zones

  4. Incentivise engagement with Indigenous organisations and build negotiation capability

  5. Highlight the premium value of Indigenous carbon

  6. Engage in emerging environmental markets


Image below: National carbon map showing distribution of current land management carbon projects registered and producing ACCUs under the Emissions Reduction Fund, overlayed with five classes of legally recognised forms of Indigenous land tenure. Analysis is based on data accessed on 28 February 2022.
ICIN pay our respects to all Traditional Owners across Australia and wish to acknowledge that sovereignty over their lands and seas has never been ceded (credit: ICIN)

Need to support engagement in carbon methods outside SFM

Alarmingly, the report found that there are only 4 Indigenous-owned carbon projects outside of the savanna fire management method. These are all high value human-induced regeneration projects supporting regeneration through the exclusion of grazing cattle and feral animals.

There are currently 31 Indigenous-owned savanna fire management projects across north Australia. These projects have grown from the savanna fire management method, which was originally developed 15 years ago, prior to the Emissions Reduction Fund, through a partnership led by Traditional Owners of West Arnhem Land, with the Northern Territory Government, Northern Land Council as well as scientists at Charles Darwin University and CSIRO and the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA). This work led to the first Indigenous-owned carbon project, the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project which was established in 2006 through a voluntary agreement with Conoco-Phillips LNG, prior to the establishment of the Emissions Reduction Fund.

In response to this finding, the ICIN is working to develop and distribute information resources to help Indigenous organisations around Australia to understand their rights in carbon and to engage in carbon markets. It will also host the National Indigenous Carbon Forum in April 2023.

Access the report: Mapping the Opportunities for Indigenous Carbon in Australia

Note that this report is an abridged version of the full report, which is available to ICIN Members only. Representatives of Indigenous organisations are welcome to contact us directly at [email protected] to request a copy of the full report and to find out more about joining the ICIN.

ICIN thank the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the Northern Territory Government and the Queensland Government Land Restoration Fund for collectively funding this project; as well as the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation, the Kimberley Land Council and the National Native Title Tribunal for contributing to this report in-kind through advice and data sharing.

The authors acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea, and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to the Elders both past, present, and emerging.



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