The focus for agriculture in the race to net-zero has primarily been targeting commercial sized operators, however a central Victorian project is focusing on enabling smaller landholders to participate in a carbon abatement scheme.
The Community Carbon Project will be run between the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and a group of local governments in the region.
It will be a revegetation project aiming to help the councils participating to reach their net-zero emissions goals while providing the carrot to landholders of allowing them to subsidise the costs of planned greening projects.
North Central CMA business development manager Matt Dawson many land holders were keen to help restore critical habitats through the ecologically diverse region.
"However, government organisations and private landowners are always faced with the significant challenge of the high cost of large-scale revegetation works," he said.
The Community Carbon project is aiming to address this by providing financial support for those who meet the criteria and are willing to help councils meet their offset requirements.
"We are excited to be trialling this innovative approach, there are wins for the landholder, the community and local wildlife."
Those that have registered for the pilot will now see their properties undergo assessments for their sequestration potential.
"The North Central CMA region encompasses a diverse array of habitats, soil types and rainfall, with each site presenting varying capacities for carbon sequestration."
"The project will conduct individual assessments for each site, considering the historical ecological vegetation and evaluating the carbon sequestration potential."
In terms of the preferred sites Mr Dawson said care was being taken to focus on the native ecology, with some areas that do not support tree cover not being suitable for the project.
"The project aims to help revegetate based on species local to the area."
"We will use the historical ecological vegetation classes. There are some habitats within the region that do not naturally support tree cover such as plains grasslands or plains grassy wetland and we will not be looking to plant tree systems within these habitats."
Organisers are taking an 'every little bit helps' approach to getting the land required for revegetation.
While parcels of over 10 hectares are given priority, the project will also consider smaller, high-value areas.
Mr Dawson said he was confident the scheme could deliver a boost to all participants.
"The benefits of undertaking revegetation work on private properties are clear, it attracts diverse wildlife, improves the aesthetic appeal of properties, reduces soil erosion, improves soil health, and enhances water quality."
"This is a great opportunity for landholders to not only leave their property in a better condition for future generations but help in the fight against climate change."
He said landholders who have expressed interest in participating in the project have indicated their desire to attract wildlife to their property, improve soil health and reduce regional environmental issues, and maintain a personal connection to land restoration.
An additional benefit is the improved aesthetic appeal of their properties as a result of the revegetation.
In the initial pilot phase, Mr Dawson said the plan was to revegetate about 80-100ha of land. However, he hoped the pilot phase would just be the start of an ongoing problem.
The Carbon Series was produced in collaboration with the Australian Science Media Centre with support from the META Public Interest Journalism Fund administered by the Walkley Foundation.