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The Wellington Regional Council has applied to the Ministry for Primary Industries to register carbon credits for 442.41ha of land, in Belmont Regional Park, East Harbour Regional Park and Battle Hill Farm Forest Park.
The carbon credits will be registered through the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI) – a government climate change initiative that encourages the establishment of permanent forests. The PFSI provides landowners with the opportunity to earn carbon credits and includes a covenant between the government and the landowner. This covenant ensures that the forest is carefully managed to maintain the forest canopy and promote regeneration.
Nigel Wilson, Chair of the regional council’s Social & Cultural Wellbeing Committee, says the application is an opportunity to make a positive contribution to global climate change efforts.
“By increasing the capacity of our regional parks to capture and store carbon, we are playing our part in a global response to the impacts of climate change,” says Cr Wilson.
A global marketplace for the trading of carbon credits exists to encourage the capture of carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere through initiatives such as establishing or re-establishing forests. The regional council has already lodged applications for its commercial forestry areas (4,261ha) under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
As the regional council owns and manages Kyoto Protocol-compliant forests, it’s able to register and sell carbon credits for financial gain. The current market price for carbon credits is approximately USD $3 per unit, but it is estimated that the credits could be worth $176,000 if the unit price rises to USD $20 per unit.