Carbon Credit Deal Signed

February 15, 2000 Tumut & Adelong Times

The Tumut Region and the Visy pulp and paper will, and a more unlikely partner in a Japanese electric power company, all stand to benefit from an innovative development of planted forests as carbon sinks, for which a major milestone was announced this week.

Contracts for softwood plantings at Nanangroe by State Forests, on behalf of TEPCO Forests (Australia) Pty Lid, a newly formed subsidiary of the world's largest privately owned utility, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, were signed yesterday.

The signing of the contracts for the establishment of up to 20,000 ha of radiata near Tumut, and a similar quantity of hardwood on the north coast, over the next ten years, was undertaken between State Forests Chief Executive Dr Bob Smith, and TEPCO President Mr Minami.

The local radiata is ultimately expected to be utilised as part of the supply for the new pulp and paper Visy mill wood source.

The contracts were signed in Tokyo and provide for establishment of up to 40,000 ha of new planted forests as carbon sinks over the next decade.

Nanangroe, a 2,500 ha property purchased by State Forests a few years ago, has already seen 1000 ha planted with State Forests plantation.

Preparations are currently underway for an area of 500 ha to be planted this winter, as part of the initial commitment to the agreement with TEPCO Forests (Australia) Pty Ltd.

State Forests are providing all services to TEPCO Forests, from the securing of land to forest establishment, management and product marketing.

The plantings at Nanangroe will count towards State Forests' commitment to provide 20,000 ha of new softwood plantation over the next decade as part of its commitment to the Visy facilitation agreement. (Visy itself have to provide for an extra 10,000 ha).

Hume Region manager Don Hobson said it was anticipated the remainder of the 20,000 ha (additional) Visy commitment would be undertaken along similar lines whereby the forests could be utilised for carbon trading.

"Not just at Nanangroe, we are hopeful of undertaking joint ventures in conjunction with local farmers", said Mr Hobson.

Forestry Minister Kim Yearn said the creation of TEPCO Forests (Australia) to grow forests as carbon sinks was an historic partnership which confirmed the State's world leadership in carbon trading.

"The NSW government is encouraging green investment as part of our response to the challenge of global warming", he said.

"Planted forests are a key driver for economic development, particularly in rural NSW. It is estimated that every 50 hectares of forest creates one new job."

The contracts signed yesterday detail the agreement to establish new planted forests compatible with the Kyoto Protocol.

Mr Yearn said State Forests had an expanding role in providing services to investors and companies wishing to use forests as a unique environmental asset and commended State Forests for its innovative development of planted forests as carbon sinks.