Farmers now able to estimate how much carbon their tree blocks are absorbing

New Zealand farmers can now estimate how much carbon their tree blocks are sequestering with a new addition to OverseerFM.
Thursday, 31 October 2019

This is a positive development as the tool will allow farmers using Overseer to calculate a fairly solid estimate of their net carbon position (ie emissions minus offsets). Some farmers may find that they are already carbon neutral and for others it will be a first step on their pathway to identifying how they could become carbon neutral.

The carbon stock tool in OverseerFM uses data from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Carbon Look-up Tables to estimate the carbon sequestration potential for existing and future tree blocks on a farm.

The new tool adds to OverseerFM’s existing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions analysis tool, which models the farm’s biological emissions (methane, nitrous oxide) and carbon dioxide as well as product footprint.

The feature provides an easy way of understanding the positive environmental impact of tree blocks and better representation of their farm systems.

Overseer is also working with Scion to understand if different forest management practices will have a material impact on carbon stocks.

Frequently asked questions

What is the new carbon stock tool?

This tool uses the Ministry for Primary Industries’ carbon look-up table data to help farmers estimate how much carbon could be captured and stored (sequestered) by existing and planned tree blocks. Once a farm is set up in OverseerFM, farmers and farm advisors can use the tool to understand if the positive environmental impact of tree blocks is likely to be significant.

What is a carbon look-up table?

Carbon look-up tables were developed for forestry accounting under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The tables provide pre-calculated average values of carbon stock by age and by region for pinus radiata and nationally for indigenous forest and other forest types. For more details, see www.mpi.govt.nz/ets

How does Carbon Stock fit with OverseerFM’s GHG tools?

The tool helps farmers make more informed decisions around whether existing or planned tree blocks will benefit their emissions profile. It is an addition to OverseerFM’s existing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions analysis tool, which estimates a farm’s biological emissions (methane, nitrous oxide) and carbon dioxide as well as product footprint.

What does OverseerFM’s GHG tool do?

OverseerFM’s GHG tool models and provides analysis results for your farm’s emissions for each greenhouse gas (methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide) and its source e.g. enterprise, dung, fertiliser etc. This means you can see where GHGs are being produced in your farm system and helps you test the impacts of farm management changes before you make them, for example, changing when N fertilisers are applied, reducing stock numbers, introducing a stand-off pad or using urease inhibitors.  You can see the impact of different scenarios on GHG emissions and nutrient losses (Nitrogen, Phosphorous) at the same time.

Can I use this OverseerFM tree block carbon stock report for ETS reporting?

No. Its purpose is purely to provide you with the indicative carbon sequestration potential from your tree blocks (in tonnes) as part of your farm environment planning. If you would like to know more about the ETS for forestry, please visit www.mpi.govt.nz/ets or contact MPI at climatechange@mpi.govt.nz  or 0800 25 46 28 and select option 3.

Does the new carbon stock tool include sequestration from soil, wetlands, riparian margins or forest management practice changes?

No. The tree block carbon stock report is stage one of Overseer’s carbon sequestration reporting suite and focuses only on tree blocks. Overseer is working to develop future options in line with scientific advances.