The Trees on Farms platform lets you find out about the potential for your land to grow trees for biodiversity, for carbon storage, and for timber. Registering your interest in growing trees will help connect you with organisations wishing to invest in growing trees on rural land, whether for conservation or for profit.
Please note: This Trees on Farms platform is a prototype that will be refined after feedback from investors and landowners. The prototype version provides a broad indication of the potential of land in south east and south west Victoria for planting trees for different reasons. The assessment may change as better information becomes available. For more specific advice landowners should contact the relevant organisations listed in ‘Contacts‘.
It is anticipated the area covered by the platform will be expanded in future versions of the platform. Please contact Professor Rod Keenan email@example.com if you have any queries, comments or other feedback about the platform.
Please note: The Platform works best using Google Chrome and most versions of Mozilla Firefox. It is recommended that ‘incognito’ mode or a private window are used if accessing the platform on a public computer. Remember to sign out of your Google account when you have finished using the platform.
- Open the Trees on Farms platform
Click to take you to the Trees on Farms platform
You can explore the site as a Guest User without logging in – just click on the 'Continue' button and start looking around.
If you would like to register your property or make changes to a property you have already registered you will need to log in using your Google ID. Login by clicking the button on the top right corner.
If you don't have a Google ID go to Google support to find out how to create a Google account. Your Google account can be linked with other email accounts, e.g. Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook or other other email account as required.
TIP: Opening the browser window in 'incognito' mode means your details will not be remembered on the site when you next login to the platform.
- Use the map to locate your property
Locate your property by either:
- Zooming in using the scroll button on the mouse
- Type the address of your property in the search bar at the top left of the screen.
You can move around the map by dragging the mouse while you hold down the left mouse button.
- Hover the mouse over your property to see the investment potential scores for growing trees on your land
Click on your property to see an estimation of how suitable your land is for growing trees for four different purposes:
- To increase biodiversity
- For carbon storage
- To produce timber for pulp
- To produce timber for sawlogs
The suitability of your land to grow trees for each of these reasons is summarised as an 'investment potential score' indicating low (pale green), medium (mid green) or high (dark green) potential for growth.
The biodiversity index is based on estimates of how many native species (flora and fauna) would re-establish in the 50 years after revegetation with native flora species that grew previously on the land.
Carbon investment potential
The carbon index is based on the Maximum Potential Biomass dataset (MaxBio) (Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2004) – an estimate of the maximum above-ground biomass that could exist in the current climatic conditions.
The Carbon Investment Potential ratings include sites with more than 600mm average annual rainfall. Under existing rules relating to the Australian Government Emissions Reduction Fund plantations grown on sites with long-term average annual rainfall greater than 600mm may not eligible to receive carbon credits under the current rules for the Australian Government Emissions Reduction Fund. The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Regulations 2011 Division 3.12 (specifically Section 3.37 – specified tree planting) outlines the conditions where trees planted in areas where the long-term average annual rainfall is higher then 600mm may be eligible as carbon offset projects within the Emissions Reduction Fund.
Timber investment potential – pulpwood and sawlog potential
The timber investment potential score is calculated based on the estimated net returns from trees grown for softwood sawlogs (e.g. pine (Pinus radiata) used for construction, buildings etc), and hardwood (e.g. Blue Gum, Eucalyptus globulus) grown for woodchips and pulp. The score is based on productivity (the expected rate of tree growth on that land multiplied by the value of the product) minus the cost of haulage to processing facilities and minus the cost of harvesting the trees.
No timber investment potential score is calculated for land that is already forested or where timber production is not compatible with the current land uses.
See the Calculating Potential Investment Scores page for more information about what these scores mean and how they were developed.
Please note: The Trees on Farms platform is a prototype. The investment potential scores in this version are an estimation based on publicly available information. This assessment may change as better information becomes available. Please contact potential investors for more specific advice.
- Add information and register your property
Please note: By registering your interest information about your reasons for growing trees, details of the area of land where you propose to plant the trees and your email address will be available for potential investors to see. You are free to change your information or to remove your property at any time if you wish.
Click on your property to open the 'Add Properties' box. If your property is made up of more than one parcel, click on all the parcels you wish to include in the registration.
- Select "Do you want your property to be publicly shown on the map" if you would like other users to see your interest in growing trees on your property. Showing your interest may create opportunities for 'aggregating' or combining a number of smaller properties in your area to share the benefits of having a larger area of tree planting.
Reasons for growing trees: Select how important (low, medium or high) each of the reasons for growing are for you.
- Income from carbon
- Income from timber
- Shade and shelter for livestock
- Windbreaks for crops and pasture
- Other farm benefits
- Revegetation of waterways, eroding soils or saline sites
- Select the minimum, maximum and average slope of the land where you would like to plant trees.
- Select what percentage of the property would be available for planting trees. Do this by clicking the left button on the mouse and sliding the indicator along the bar. This will indicate the percentage of the total property on the left side of the bar, and the area in Hectares selected on the right end of the bar.
When you are happy with your selections click "Create" to register your interest.
You will receive a confirmation email when you register your property. Please check your spam folder if you do not receive the email confirmation.
- Repeat for any other properties you have
If you have more than one property you would like to include, locate the additional properties and repeat the steps above.
Any additional properties will appear in the "Add properties" box.
- View or update your property details
Click on the brown property 'pin' to open the dialogue box and see the information you have entered for that property. You can make any changes to the information you have already provided, or you can choose to delete the property if you no longer wish to be contacted by potential investors.
Growing trees on farms provides many benefits. These include helping to improve farm productivity by providing shade and shelter and other on-farm benefits, as an additional income source from growing trees to harvest commercially or storing carbon, providing catchment benefits to improve water quality and quantity, and as habitat to increase biodiversity.
Click on the sections below to find out more about the benefits of growing trees on farms.
- On-farm benefits of trees
Trees, when planted in the right place and in the right configuration, can increase productivity for dairy, wool, meat, cropping, and horticultural enterprises. Trees can provide multiple on-farm benefits to production, including:
- Providing shade and shelter for livestock. Protection from hot winds and sun can help reduce heat stress and improve productivity, particularly as extreme heat events are predicted to increase in a warming climate. Strategically planted trees can also reduce wind speed and provide protection to reduce livestock losses, potentially increasing wool production and can help improve lamb survival.
- Improving crop and pasture yields by providing protection from drying winds.
- Helping to control dryland salinity and waterlogging to lower water tables by reducing groundwater recharge and increasing discharge through transpiration. Dryland salinity and waterlogging reduce pasture and crop production, leaving bare ground that is potentially more susceptible to wind and water erosion.
- Helping to conserve soil by reducing soil erosion from wind and water, increasing soil organic matter, improving soil structure, increasing water infiltration and assisting nutrient cycling. Fertile top soil is critical for crop and pasture growth. Soil erosion from wind and water can potentially cause significant economic and environmental damage through the loss of fertile top soils. Trees can reduce erosion by slowing wind speed and reducing water flows.
- As fodder to supplement pastures for grazing stock during periods of feed shortages.
- Providing habitat to increase on-farm biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to the variety of all living things; the different plants, animals and micro organisms, the genetic information they contain and the ecosystems they form. Land clearing for agriculture has resulted in small isolated areas of native habitat putting many species at risk.Trees on farms can help protect biodiversity by providing nesting sites, food, shelter, a haven from predators or corridors for migration, while also providing on-farm benefits, for example by providing bird habitat to contribute to pest insect management, reducing the pest control costs.
- To improve the scenic quality of the farm as well as contributing to improved working conditions, for example by reducing wind and providing shade.
- Shelterbelts for Livestock Productivity
- Shelterbelt Management
- Shelterbelts and Wildlife
- Trees for Shelter: Windbreaks for Australian Farms a 2003 report for the Joint Venture Agroforestry Program
- Earning income from trees
The demand for wood is growing both in Australia and around the world. Wood is a renewal resource with multiple uses. It is used in construction and packaging, for making paper, and is increasingly replacing plastics and petrochemicals in the emerging ‘bioeconomy’. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) has estimated that imports of softwood sawnwood will need to double by 2050 to meet the increasing demand for softwood in Australia.
Plantations established for commercial harvest can potentially provide income for landowners in Victoria. Trees can be grown for different purposes, for example as sawn timber, as woodchips to produce pulp for paper and cardboard, as firewood, to produce bioenergy, for manufactured composite boards such as veneers, plywoods, particle board, chipboard or laminated wood, or for posts and poles (e.g. fenceposts).
Growing trees for income is a long-term investment – just how long will depend on the type of trees planted (e.g. softwood or hardwood, exotic or native species) and what the trees will be used for. Careful planning and management is needed to ensure tree survival and growth, and to maximise income.
Factors to consider when planning on establishing trees for income include: what species to plant, design, management requirements, potential constraints and partnership options.
+ Tree species for timber
Plantings for commercial harvest can be based on a single species, or can be integrated with local natives to promote biodiversity and habitat values. What species is best for your site will depend on your objectives, as well as the soil (soil depth, texture, nutrients) and climate conditions (rainfall, temperature, exposure of the site), expected future demand, management requirements and length of time between planting and harvesting (rotation).
The most common plantation tree species grown for timber production in Victoria are the softwood Radiata pine (Pinus radiata), and the hardwoods Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus), and Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans).
Among other species grown for timber, Spotted gum (Corymbia maculata) and Sugar gum (Eucalyptus cladocalyx) have been widely planted in the past for windbreaks and shelterbelts in western Victoria.
Softwood and hardwood are used for different purposes. Plantation grown softwood is mainly used for timber in the construction industry and for other building purposes. It is also used to manufacture pulp and paper-based products such as newsprint or tissue paper. Short rotation (10 -15 years) hardwood species are generally used for high quality paper and packaging but is also used in construction.
+ Farm forestry design
The most suitable designs for planting trees on your land will depend on the main purpose of the planting. Possible planting designs include:
- Block plantings
- Multiple smaller scale block plantings
- Belts, linear plantings of one or more parallel lines of trees
- Wide spaced trees
+ Management of timber for income
Silviculture is the term used to describe how the trees in a stand, and the individual trees within that stand, are managed. Silviculture influences the volume and quality (e.g. knots, log diameter) of the timber produced by the forest stand and by individual trees within the stand. Management activities include:
- Thinning – trees are frequently planted at higher densities than required to protect and shelter each other, to encourage growth in height and to help control branch growth. The planting may then be ‘thinned’ to remove trees that are damaged by wind or browsing insects or animals, or trees that have poor growth or form. Thinning reduces competition between trees to maximise tree growth.
- Pruning – depending on the intended market the trees may be pruned to remove branches which cause knots in the timber.
+ Potential constraints on income from trees
A range of factors influence potential income from trees, including how much the tree grows, the value of the product produced, management and establishment costs, harvest related costs, and costs of haulage to where the timber is processed.
Potential constraints include:
- The slope of the land. Slope affects harvest costs and influences the types of equipment that can be used to harvest the trees. Slope refers to how steep the land is where the trees are to be planted. Slope is usually expressed as a ratio representing the difference in the vertical height of the land at two points divided by the horizontal distance between the points. For example, if the height of the land increases by 5m over 1000m, then the slope = 15m divided by 1000m, or 0.015. This can be expressed as a percentage by multiplying by 100, i.e. the percentage slope in the example = 0.015 X 100, or 1.5%.
- The area of trees planted also affects harvest costs. The larger the area to be harvested, the lower the harvesting costs are per tree. For example, the cost of floating harvest machinery to a site remains the same whether the area to be harvested is 1ha or 50ha. The area and the shape of the planting also affects costs, for example the cost of fencing smaller and narrow areas is greater per tree than fencing off a larger block for planting.
- The haulage distance to where the trees will be processed. Haulage refers to the transporting of timber form where they are harvested to where they will be processed. The cost of haulage increases with distance to the timber processing site.
+ Partnership options
Landowners may choose to establish, manage, harvest and market the trees for themselves.
Alternatively, landowners may seek business partners to establish and manage trees for harvest. Potential business partners include timber processors ….
All partnership arrangements should be based on sound financial analysis, good technical information, and transparent agreements that clearly assign the ownership of different assets (land or trees) and indicate the rights and responsibilities, and risks and rewards, for each party
Three types of business partnership models:
- Land-lease, where a company or investor pays to lease land from the landowner. The company pays to establish and manage the trees. Arrangements for cost of fencing, and for providing access to the trees, are agreed between the landowner and company. The trees are owned by the company or investor who also make decisions about the management and timing of harvest. Annual lease payments may be reduced in return for permanent plantings for on-farm, aesthetic or biodiversity benefits.
This model is more likely to suit larger, commercial-scale farmers interested in regular and secure annual income, but who do not want to commit their own time, machinery or capital to tree growing.
- Joint venture, where the landowner contributes land, labour and equipment. The company provides tree seedlings and any specialised equipment. The sale of the timber is secured through a ‘take-or-pay’ wood purchase agreement. The trees are owned jointly by landowner, the company and, potentially an investor, and decision making is shared. The share of return to the landowner may be reduced in return for providing permanent plantings for on-farm or aesthetic benefits.
A joint venture arrangement may suit larger commercial-scale landowners willing to commit their own resources or funds to commercial tree growing, and who are willing to bear more risk in return for a greater share of the final profit.
- Outgrower where the landowner provides land, labour and capital to establish and manage trees. The landowner may borrow funds from a third-party investor or lender. The company provides the seedlings and management information. A future market for the timber is secured through a wood purchase agreement either as a ‘take-or-pay’ or ‘first right of refusal’. The latter gives less security to the grower but the prospect of a better price in a rising market, if there are alternative buyers. In this model the landowner owns the trees, has more control over tree location, integration with the farm operation and management decisions, such as the time of harvest. The landowner bears more risk but has the potential for greater reward, depending on the market.
This model is may suit landowners who want a higher degree of control and take a greater interest in managing and marketing their trees.
- Carbon benefits
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gasses absorb heat energy reflected from the Earth's surface and radiate that heat back to the atmosphere. While greenhouse gases play an important role in insulating the Earth, excessive greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity and the burning of fossil fuels is contributing to global warming and human-induced climate change.
Trees can play an important role in helping to mitigate human-induced climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store or sequester the carbon in their leaves, bark, branches, trunk and roots. In the process of photosynthesis, light energy from the sun is used by green plants to convert carbon dioxide and water to glucose, oxygen and water. In the process of respiration glucose produced during photosynthesis combines with oxygen to produce energy for cell growth.
How much carbon is stored as a tree grows depends on the tree species, local climate, soil factors and the way the trees are managed. As a general rule of thumb, about half of the dry weight of the biomass of a tree is carbon, with one tonne of carbon being approximately equivalent to 3.67 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Equations can be used to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide a tree absorbs from the atmosphere. For example, if the fresh weight of a tree is known the carbon dioxide sequestered by that tree can be calculated using the formula:
Carbon dioxide (kg) sequestered per tree = Tree mass (kg of fresh biomass) x 65% (dry mass) x 50% (carbon %) x 3.67 x 120%
Using this formula, if a 12 year old spotted gum tree has a fresh weight of 600kg, the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered can be calculated as:
600 x 0.65 x 0.50 x 3.67 x 1.2 = 859 kg of carbon dioxide sequestered, or 72 kg of carbon dioxide per year of growth.
If there were 100 of the 12 year old spotted gums on a farm, then approximately 85,900 kg or 85.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide would be absorbed and stored by those trees over the 12 year period.
The Department of Environment and Energy calculates that a fuel-efficient car using around 5L of fuel per 100km emits around 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. As carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas produced by motor vehicles, the stand of 12 spotted gums absorbs the carbon dioxide emitted by around 50 fuel efficient cars per year.
When commercial trees are harvested some of the carbon is converted into long-term storage in wood products. Carbon stored in trees can potentially offset emissions that might be occurring in other parts of the farm operation.
For more information about trees and carbon:
- For more information on carbon storage and payments see the Private Forests Tasmania's Carbon Plantations Kit.
- Farm carbon emissions in agriculture
- On-farm greenhouse gas accounting tools - Agriculture Victoria site listing the tools currently available to assist farm businesses to estimate on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration.
- Climate Proofing Australia is an industry and conservation led network of organisations committed to advancing the role of farming, forestry and conservation to meet Australia’s emissions targets.
- Principles and Processes of Carbon Sequestration by Trees describes the role of trees in sequestering carbon
- Which plants store more carbon in Australia: forests or grasses?
- Carbon Neutral Wool Farming
- Offsetting Livestock Emissions
- Earning income from carbon
Trees remove or capture and store carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon that is sequestered or stored in trees has value as carbon offsets. Carbon emitters such as industry or airlines can purchase carbon credits to 'offset' unavoidable carbon emissions to achieve net zero emissions or become carbon neutral.
The Australian Government Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is a voluntary scheme providing incentives to organisations and individuals to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce their carbon emissions. The ERF is a market-based mechanism where emitters required to reduce emissions can purchase and surrender carbon credits. There are a number of opportunities for the land sector to participate in the ERF by either storing carbon or avoiding emissions from agricultural activities.The types of projects that can be undertaken are called methods.The methods explain how to carry out a project and measure the resulting reductions in emissions.
Some new tree plantings may be eligible for carbon sequestration payments under the Plantation forestry method or the Measurement based methods for new farm forestry plantations method. Both of these methods relate to vegetation projects that generate emission abatement by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it as carbon in the trees as they grow. Eligible vegetation activities include reforestation, re-vegetation, or protecting protecting native forest or vegetation that is at imminent risk of clearing.
There are strict guidelines for participating in carbon abatement projects within the Emission Reduction Fund. See the Clean Energy Regulator Emission Reduction Fund Opportunities for the land sector site for more information about eligibility requirements for participating in vegetation projects under the ERF.
For more information:
- Australian Government Clean Energy Regulator for information about how to participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund
- Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011
- Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Regulations 2011
- Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Rule 2015.
- Activities under the Plantation forestry method – a diagram showing the different activities allowed under the Plantation Forestry Method
- Australia's Carbon Marketplace is an initiative of the Carbon Market Institute with support from the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, which maintains the National Carbon Offset Standard and the Carbon Neutral Program.The Carbon Marketplace portal is designed to complement existing market resources and is a central platform for individuals, businesses and anyone interested in understanding more about carbon market dynamics, carbon neutrality & offsetting, and the development of Australia’s carbon farming industry (and carbon credit creation potential).
- Carbon Friendly for information about plantation forestry carbon farming projects. Carbon Friendly are carbon brokers whose vision is for a productive, sustainable land sector that contributes to a zero net emission Australia by 2050.
- LOOC-C Developed by the CSIRO the LOOC_C in an online tool to calculate landscape options and opportunities for carbon abatement. It can be used to assess options for engaging in certain projects offered under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). The tool matches current land use to ERF projects and estimates of abatement quantity (e.g. Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs)
- Catchment Carbon Offsets Trial: Gelibrand River case study The catchment carbon offsets (CCO) concept has been developed as a potential approach for Victoria’s water sector to progress their emissions reductions obligations, while delivering complementary catchment and social benefits. A “virtual” case study was undertaken, to design and test the feasibility and likely outcomes of such a project. The case study was also intended to provide a replicable method for further case studies or actual CCO projects.
Digital services for carbon farming markets Researchers with CSIROs Digiscape are developing a software tool to help landowners and land managers assess the abatement potential of their land. Pronounced ‘Look-see’, LOOC-C is a software tool that allows land managers to quickly assess the green house gas abatement options for a specific land area, including estimates of abatement quantity such as Australian Carbon Credit Units. By supporting an assessment of specific paddocks or farm areas, LOOC-C helps producers discover and evaluate their options for participating in a project through the Emissions Reduction Fund and other markets. The LOOC-C software tool is currently a prototype, with the next version of the tool expected to be released soon.
- Improving biodiversity
Biodiversity refers to the variety of all living things, including all the different species of plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and viruses that inhabit our planet. Biodiversity also refers to the diversity of genetic material all living things, and the diversity of ecosystems, habitats and communities in which they live.
Biodiversity is fundamental for maintaining ecosystem services such as clean air, water, and food. These ecosystem services are essential for the survival and well-being of humans and all living creatures. Loss of biodiversity not only reduces the ability of ecosystems to maintain these essential services, but also affects the ability of ecosystems to adapt to global change.
The extensive clearing and modification of agricultural landscapes has resulted in highly fragmented landscapes and is considered to be one of the key drivers of species loss around the world. Patches of natural habitat or remnant vegetation in agricultural landscapes are important for maintaining biodiversity. However these patches are frequently too small or isolated to support the diversity of species that would once have been found there. Trees planted on farms, while not a substitute for remnant vegetation, can play a role in restoring natural values and enhancing species diversity in agricultural landscapes.
How can trees on farms enhance biodiversity?
Trees on farms can enhance biodiversity in different ways, including improving connectivity between patches of remnant vegetation and by increasing the area of available habitat. For example, trees planted around existing patches of remnant vegetation can provide a buffer to protect against external impacts such as wind, sun, help protect native reptiles, birds and animals from pests such as foxes, help reduce weed infestations, and help reduce the impacts of agricultural land uses. Trees on farms can be planted to improve connectivity and act as wild life corridors in fragmented landscapes by linking existing patches of remnant vegetation. Trees on farms can also expand the area of available habitat for insects, reptiles, birds, animals and other species. When planted in the right place trees on farms can help improve areas of degraded natural remnant vegetation. Planting trees on farms can enhance biodiversity more indirectly, for example by helping to stabilise soil and reduce wind and soil erosion, while riparian plantings can enhance aquatic diversity by stabilising stream and river banks.
What sort of plantings are best to increase biodiversity?
Large, wide tree plantings help maximise biodiversity by minimising edge effects and exposure to external impacts. Plantings should be structurally complex, providing a range of niches and habitats to support different species. Structurally complex plantings include a range of understorey shrubs, taller middle-storey shrubs or small trees, as well as an upper canopy of taller trees. To increase complexity, include species with different growth habits that provide diverse sources of food, including pollen and nectar, and different types of shelter and refuge. Retain existing physical structures within the planting, such as old trees with hollows, logs and stumps.
- Conservation Management Notes: Corridors and Connectivity
- Biorich plantations mimic nature to integrate conservation and production. Established in 2010 as a demonstration site by Ballarat Region Treegrowers, the 15ha Lal Lal biorich plantation site has a biodiverse core replicating the original natural forest with species diversity of over 40 plants and five structural layers as once found in swamp woodland at Lal Lal, south-west of Ballarat. A biorich plantation bridges the gap between environmental plantings for habitat and farm forestry for landholder use and profit.
- Ecosystem Services: Key Concepts and Applications
- Remnant Native Vegetation Investigation: A report of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council
- Harnessing the potential of trees-on-farms for meeting national and global biodiversity targets
- Contribution of trees to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes
- Biodiversity and Farm Forestry
- The ecological consequences of habitat fragmentation
- Biodiversity in the Paddock: A land managers guide
- Australia's 15 National Biodiversity Hotspots
- Catchment benefits
A water catchment is an area where rainwater collects in the natural landscape and flows into creeks, rivers, dams, lakes or oceans. Water collected in catchments can also flow through cracks and spaces in the soil and rocks to flow into, or to recharge, groundwater systems.
The condition of land within water catchments can affect the health of streams, rivers and other waterways. Ultimately the conditions within water catchments can affect the quality of drinking water and the health of communities.
In general, trees use more water than grass. Large scale planting of trees on land that has previously been cleared for pasture or for growing crops can reduce the flow of water into dams, creeks and other waterways. However, reduced water yields must be weighed against the other catchment benefits of establishing trees on cleared land. For example, trees planted in riparian areas adjacent to streams, rivers and other waterways can filter and reduce the movement of nutrients a such as phosphorous and nitrogen from agricultural land into waterways. Phosphorous and nitrogen are both major contributors to eutrophication or increased nutrient loads in waterways, dams and wetlands. High nutrient levels are one factor contributing to toxic algal blooms, leading to fish deaths, stock poisoning and can be pose a serious human health risk.
Trees planted in riparian zones can also contribute to healthy waterways by helping to stabilise riverbeds and banks to reduce erosion and sediment movement into waterways.
Useful resources and contacts:
The Regional Riparian Action Plan outlines the riparian management outcomes and aspirational targets to be achieved across regional Victoria over the five-year period 2015-16 to 2019-20.
Victoria is divided into ten catchment and land protection regions. The Catchment Management Authority (CMA) within each region is responsible for the integrated planning and coordination of land, water and biodiversity management in each catchment and land protection regions. The ten catchment management authorities are:
- Glenelg Hopkins
- North Central
- Goulburn Broken
- North East
- East Gippsland
- West Gippsland
An assessment of the impact of riparian revegetation on stream erosion during floods in Victoria – a report the findings from a study investigating the role of native vegetation established through revegetation programs on the extent of flood related channel change.
StandingTall: Tasmania’s forestry future, an ABC Landline (2017) production looking at the benefits of integrating forestry trees on agricultural land.
Going Bush 2015: Private Forestry Services Queensland
Potential investor contact details and other useful sites
- Timber Companies
AKD Softwoods is a 100% Australian owned and operated integrated forestry and timber processing company with operations in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. AKD’s head office is in Colac, Victoria where it was founded in 1955. The AKD team is committed to growth through investing in long-term sustainable assets and building strong relationships with customers and suppliers.
Contact: Neil Harris (Resources Manager)
Phone: +61 03 5231 9100
7 – 15 Forest Street, Colac 3250
Area of operation: all of Victoria
Founded in 1980, Midway is involved in the production and export of high quality woodfibre. Midway’s primary business is the purchasing, processing, marketing and exporting of woodfibre. With locations in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory Midway’s operating environment consists of plantation and land ownership, the procurement of timber resources within Australia, processing, materials handling and exporting of woodfibre, and the international woodfibre market.
Contact: Tom Jordan
Phone 03 5277 9255
Area of operation in Victoria: 250 km radius of Geelong
Melbourne-based HVP is one of Australia’s largest private timber plantation companies. HVP’s mission is to manage the plantation estate in a safe and sustainable way to optimise the return to our investors, whilst balancing the needs of our employees, customers and local communities. HVP Plantations estate is situated across areas of southern Victoria, extending from Gippsland in the east to the border with South Australia in the west and large plantations in the north east of the state.
Contact: Tony O'Hara, General Manager Forest Resources
World Trade Centre, Level 12, Tower 4,
18-38 Siddeley Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3005
Phone: +61 03 9289 1415
- Carbon brokers
Climate Friendly’s vision is for a productive, sustainable land sector that contributes to a zero net emission Australia by 2050. Our purpose is to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 million tonnes by 2020, scaling up to 100 million tonnes by 2025. Climate Friendly manages around one fifth of all projects registered under the national Carbon Farming Initiative.
Contact: Nigel Miller
Phone: +61 1800 233 276
Area of operation: All of Australia
- Timber brokers/forestry management/independent advice
Devtree is a company that specialises in forest management advice and the provision of marketing and harvest services. Established in 1995 Devtree services the Gippsland region.
Contact: Peter Devonshire RPF, Principal Devtree Pty Ltd
133 Prosper Valley Road, Budgeree Victoria 3870
Phone: +61 428346711
Area of operation: Gippsland region
Farm Forestry Services
Farm Forestry Services specialises in helping landowners and plantation owners to establish and manage their plantations.
Forest Strategy Pty Ltd
Forest Strategy Pty Ltd is a company providing consultancy services to the forestry industries.
Principal Consultant: Gary Featherston
Phone: +61 03 5341 3982
Area of operation: All of Victoria
PF Olsen Australia is an independent forestry and agribusiness service provider.
We have the skills and capacity to undertake all aspects of management for:
- softwood plantations
- hardwood plantations (short and long term rotation)
- native forests
- carbon and conservation forests
- farm forestry and small holding group schemes
Our commitment to the highest standards of safety, quality and environmental management is demonstrated through the formal certification of our systems. We take the risk out of managing operations by directly engaging, supervising and managing contractors through our own tried and tested contractual arrangements. This allows the client to take advantage of our scale, efficiencies and expertise to ensure the best and most cost-effective forest management outcome which generates value for all parties.
PF Olsen operates in:
- Green Triangle including Kangaroo Island
- South West WA
- Southern NSW
Contact: Sara Gipton, Business Service Development & Special Projects Manager,
Location: 6/50 Upper Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe, Victoria, 3079
Toll Free Number: 1800 054 659
- Catchment Management Authorities
In Victoria Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) work with regional communities and other management partners to coordinate the management of land, water and biodiversity resources. CMA activities include maintaining or improving the quality of water resources and the condition of waterways, preventing or reversing land degradation, and conserving, protecting and building the resilience of natural ecosystems.
Victoria is divided into 10 catchment and land protection regions. Click here for more information about the Victoria’s Catchment Management Framework, and to find your catchment region and CMA contact details.
Corangamite Catchment Management Authority
64 Dennis Street, Colac, Victoria, 3250
T: +613 5232 9100
The Corangamite NRM Planning Portal is an online mapping tool to help identify local and regional priorities for catchment management in the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority region. Other resources, web portals and related initiatives for the Corangamite region are available at the Corangamite CMA Knowledge Base.
- Environmental Non-Government Organisations (ENGOs)
Greenfleet is a leading not-for-profit environmental organisation on a mission to protect our climate by restoring our forests. Greenfleet plants native biodiverse forests to offset carbon emissions on behalf of individuals and business to help fight the impacts of climate change. Greenfleet forests address critical deforestation, capture carbon emissions to protect our climate, reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and restore habitat for wildlife, including many endangered species.
Contact: Eoghan O’Connor | Land Strategy Manager
Level 4, 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Telephone: +613 9642 0570
Area of operation: All of Australia
Greening Australia works with landholders and partners to create Australia’s biggest carbon sink and establish one million hectares of habitat across southern Australia. To help threatened plants and wildlife, and combat global climate change, Greening Australia works to integrate large-scale re-afforestation and carbon sinks into farming systems to create healthy, productive landscapes for people and nature.
- Other useful sites and contacts
Forest and Wood Products Australia
Forest and Wood Products Australia Limited (FWPA) is a not-for-profit company that provides national, integrated research and development services to the Australian forest and wood products industry. FWPA is committed to helping the forest and wood products industry to be collaborative, innovative, sustainable and competitive against other industries and products available in the marketplace.
Level 11, 10-16 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
Phone: +61 3 9927 3200
Australian Forest Growers
The Australian Forest Growers (AFG) is the national association representing private forestry and commercial tree growing interests in Australia.
Otway Agroforestry Network Ltd
The Otway Agroforestry Network (Ltd) is a landcare group that encourages farmers to establish and manage trees for the reasons that matter to them. Landholders in our region want trees on their farms to shelter farm stock and crops; control soil erosion and dryland salinity; enhance their property values; and, where possible, generate alternative sources of income.
Gippsland Agroforestry Network
The Gippsland Agroforestry Network (GAN) is a sub-group of the Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network. GAN is a Special Interest sub-group of people interested in producing, converting and marketing farm-grown timber. GAN is associated with Australian Forest Growers, a national body representing productive tree growing and based in Canberra. There is a wide skill base represented by the members.
Biorich plantations mimic nature to integrate conservation and production. A biorich plantation bridges the gap between environmental plantings for habitat and farm forestry for landholder use and profit. Established in 2010 as a demonstration site by Ballarat Region Treegrowers, the 15ha Lal Lal biorich plantation site has a biodiverse core replicating the original natural forest with species diversity of over 40 plants and five structural layers as once found in swamp woodland at Lal Lal, south-west of Ballarat.
Victorian Association of Forest Industries Inc. (VAFI)
The Victorian Association of Forest Industries Inc. (VAFI) is the peak body for the Victorian timber and forestry industry. The industry in Victoria is a dynamic sector of the economy that uses wood – a renewable , biodegradable and recyclable product – to create materials for new homes, buildings and furniture, paper and fuel for green energy.
VAFI represents the entire cycle of timber and forestry products, including forest growers and managers, harvest and haulage businesses, wood and paper processors, and associated businesses across both the native forest and plantations sectors.
GPO Box 4320, Melbourne, VIC 3001
Phone: +61 3 9611 9000
Private Forests Tasmania
Private Forests Tasmania (PFT) is a government authority with a legislated role to facilitate and expand the development of our private forest resource in a manner which is consistent with sound forest and land management practices. PFT is the only government-funded authority established in Australia to specifically promote, foster and assist the private forestry sector on forestry matters. This is done mainly through providing information and advice to private growers and their markets, through research, innovation and planning tools, and by providing practical policy advice to the Tasmanian and Australian governments that represents the interests of private forest growers.
Australia’s Carbon Marketplace
Australia’s Carbon Marketplace is an initiative of the Carbon Market Institute with support from the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, which maintains the National Carbon Offset Standard and the Carbon Neutral Program.
The Carbon Marketplace portal is designed to complement existing market resources and is a central platform for individuals, businesses and anyone interested in understanding more about carbon market dynamics, carbon neutrality and offsetting, and the development of Australia’s carbon farming industry (and carbon credit creation potential). It aims to provide a complete overview of the journey towards net-zero – with a focus on carbon neutrality and the offsetting process.
Australian Agroforestry Foundation
The Australian Agroforestry Foundation (AAF) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to providing education and extension support to help farmers, and those that work with them, develop and sustain 'forests' within the Australian agricultural landscape that reflect their interests and aspirations.
New Zealand Farm Forestry Website
A website for those with small forestry blocks – farmers, foresters, investors, growers, managers. NZFFA are a network of tree growers each practicing sustainable land management in rural New Zealand. This website provides a growing library of information on all aspects of farm forestry. General information is available to all visitors but some detailed and membership-specific information is reserved for members of the Association.
Farm Forestry’s Role
This booklet published by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry provides a guide to the benefits of farm forestry as a natural resource management (NRM) tool, and outlines how regional NRM groups can maximise the potential of farm forestry.
Whole farm planning
Whole Farm Planning (WFP) is a process of planning, property design and management based on natural resources and economic factors. WFP focuses on all of the farm assets (physical and nonphysical) over a long period of time (perhaps several generations). WFP covers the knowledge and skills to be able to plan a sub-division, irrigation layouts, assess land capability and potential of a farm.
Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH)
The VEWH is an independent statutory body responsible for holding and managing Victoria's environmental water entitlements. VEWH work with catchment management authorities and Melbourne Water to ensure environmental water entitlements are used to achieve the best environmental outcomes with the water that is available.
- Why should I login to the platform?
The Trees on Farms platform allows landowners and farmers to indicate to potential investors areas of land that may be suitable and available for growing trees.
The platform can be used without logging in to explore the potential benefits of integrating trees on your land.
However, you are required to log in if you wish to register your property to connect with potential investors via the platform. Logging in is a way to confirm that landowners and investors are legitimate entities – or at least that they have a valid email.
Please note: There is no obligation for landowners using the platform to actually grow trees or for investors to invest in the planting of trees.
- What should I do if my property has more than one ‘parcel’?
If your property has more than one land parcel you can select multiple parcels if you would like to make up one larger area.
- What are the potential benefits and how are they calculated?
The 'investment potential score' provides an estimation of how suitable your land is for growing trees to increase biodiversity, for capturing carbon, or for producing timber (pulp and sawlog potential).
The biodiversity index is based on estimates of the number of native species (flora and fauna) that would re-establish on land parcels after 50 years following revegetation with previously existing native flora species.
The carbon index is based on the Maximum Potential Biomass dataset (MaxBio) which is an estimate of the maximum above-ground biomass that potentially would exist if native vegetation was present under current climatic conditions.
The timber investment potential score takes into account land availability and suitability. It is calculated based on the estimated net returns from trees for softwood production of sawlogs (e.g. pine (pinus radiata) used for construction, buildings etc), and hardwood (e.g. Blue Gum) grown for woodchips and pulp. The estimated net returns from planting trees for timber production is based on productivity (the rate of tree growth X the value of the product) less the cost of haulage to processing facilities less the harvest costs.
More information about what these scores mean and how they were developed can be found on the Calculating Potential Investment Scores page.
To find out about the biodiversity, carbon and timber benefits from growing trees on your property follow the links to the platform, locate and click on your property. More information about how to do this can be found here.
- What does ‘making the property publicly shown on the map’ mean and why should I do it?
Making the property publicly shown on the map means other landowners and investors will be able to see that you are interested in growing trees on your property.
Seeing that other landowners in your area are also interested in growing trees means you may be able to 'aggregate' to ‘join together’ with other landowners to get benefits from economies of scale, for example reducing overall costs by increasing the area of planting or harvesting.
- Why should I show reasons for growing trees?
Showing what reasons for growing trees are important to you will help connect you with potential investors who have similar objectives. Potential investors include Catchment Management Authorities, Greening Australia, forest industries, farm forestry initiatives, carbon brokers and Landcare groups. For example, indicating that income from carbon or trees is important to you will help match you to investors who are also interested in growing trees for this reason.
- What does slope mean and why is it important?
Slope refers to how steep the land is where the trees are to be planted. Slope is usually expressed as a ratio representing the difference in vertical height at two points divided by the horizontal distance between the points. For example, if the height of the land increases by 15m over a distance of 1000m, then the slope can be calculated as 15m divided by 1000m, or 0.015. This can then be expressed as a percentage by multiplying by 100, i.e. the percentage slope in the example is 0.015 X 100, or 1.5%.
The slope of the land is important when growing trees for timber. Slope affects harvest costs and influences the types of equipment that can be used to harvest the trees.
Planting and harvesting trees on steep slopes can also affect other plantation design and harvesting considerations, such as the risk of erosion, operator safety, drainage lines and track construction.
- How important is the 'percentage area'?
The area of trees planted affects establishment costs, and also affects harvesting and other management costs if the trees are grown for income. For example, the area and shape of the planting affects the cost of fencing. Harvesting costs per tree are influenced by the area of trees to be harvested – generally the larger the area to be harvested, the lower the total harvesting costs per tree. For example, the cost of floating harvest machinery to a site remains the same whether the area to be harvested is 1ha or 50ha.
- Who are the potential investors?
Potential investors who may wish to invest in growing trees on your land include Catchment Management Authorities, not-for-profit organisations such as Greening Australia and Greenfleet, forest industries, farm forestry initiatives, carbon brokers and Landcare groups.
- Is my information safe?
The Trees on Farms platform is deployed on secure servers at the University of Melbourne in a data centre with restricted (physical) access. All access and use of the data is strictly monitored. The project leverages many years of experience in security-oriented systems development of the Melbourne eResearch Group (www.eresearch.unimelb.edu.au
For security reasons this prototype of the Trees on Farms platform requires you to log in using use your Google ID to confirm who you are. When you have finished using the platform make sure you log out of your Google Account to protect your privacy.
Logging in to the platform allows Growing Carbon Landscape limited 'Third party access' to information you have made publicly available in your Google Account, as well as being able to see and download your Google Account email addresses.
If you wish to remove the Third Party access go to your Google account, scroll down to click Security – scroll down to 'Third party apps with account access'. Click on 'Manage third party access' – select Growing Landscape Carbon – select Remove access.
You can also login in using Incognito mode (Chrome) or a New Private Window (Firefox) if you do not want your login details to be remembered.
Remember: When you have finished entering information on the Trees on Farms make sure you sign also out of your Google Account.
- I have registered my property, what happens next?
Once you have registered your property you will receive a confirmation email. The information you have provided about your reasons for growing trees, details of the land where you would like to plant trees, and your email details will be available to potential investors. You may also contact potential investors directly if you wish.
Hint: Check your spam folder if you haven't received a confirmation email
- What should I do if I don’t have a Google ID?
You need to have a Google ID to use the current Trees on Farms platform. Google IDs are freely available and can be created by anyone. See Google support for how to create a Google account. The Google account can be linked with other email accounts such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook or other email account.
- Can I contact investors without using the tool or registering my property?
Yes, you can contact potential investors about growing trees on your land without registering the property. However registering and showing your property on the map provides opportunities for aggregating to get benefits from joining together smaller areas to achieve economies of scale.
- What if I add my property but change my mind?
You can easily change the details you have entered or delete the property details by simply logging in to locate your property and clicking on the property 'pin'. This will open the dialogue box and you can make the changes you would like.
- What do potential investors see about my property?
When potential investors log into the platform they will see the location of properties where the landowner has registered an interest in growing trees. Potential investors can click on a property to see which reasons for growing trees are important to the landowner (e.g. for income from timber or carbon, for on farm benefits such as shade and shelter, or for conservation reasons). They will also see information the landowner has registered about the slope and area of the land available for growing trees. Potential investors have a range of different reasons for investing in growing trees on private land. Having access to the information about what is important to the landowner allows potential investors to locate landowners wanting to grow trees for similar reasons.
- Why can't I see information about my property?
You may not be able to view information or register your interest if your property is outside the area covered by the current platform. This platform is a prototype and is being tested as a 'proof of concept'. At this stage the platform can only provide information about land in south east and south west Victoria. It is anticipated the area covered by the platform will be extended in future versions of the platform.
If your property is outside the scope of this current platform it is recommended you contact the relevant organisations listed in 'Contacts' if you would like information about growing trees on your land.
- How do I change the login details I have already entered on the platform?
For security reasons this prototype of the Trees on Farms platform requires you to log in using use your Google ID to confirm who you are.
To change your login details log out of your Google Account when you have finished using the platform. When you next log in you will be asked to choose an account or to use another account. Selecting Use another account will let you enter details for a different Google account.
Logging in to the platform allows Growing Carbon Landscape limited 'Third party access' to information publicly available in your account. If you wish to remove the Third Party access go to your Google account, scroll down click Security – scroll down to 'Third party apps with account access'. Click on 'Manage third party access' – select Growing Landscape Carbon – select Remove access.
You can also login in using Incognito mode (Chrome) or a New Private Window (Firefox) if you do not want your login details to be remembered.
- Family forestry improves the triple bottom line - The Yan Yan Gurt Creek Story
Between 1990 and 2002 forest cover in the Yan Yan Gurt Creek Catchment in south west Victoria increased from 6% to 21% of the total area. More than 20 families have planted trees on cleared farmland with at least 10 managing their trees for sawlogs production. What makes the catchment interesting is not the scale of the revegetation that has taken place but its diversity. Family forestry not only makes a significant contribution to future wood supply but also ensures that commercial tree growing has local community support, underpins sustainable agricultural production and delivers real environmental benefits.Read more
- Jigsaw Farms: Carbon capture and biodiversity strategies do not have to be at the expense of on-farm production
Jigsaw Farms in south-west Victoria, is an example of how trees can be used to benefit farming practices as well as capturing carbon. From 2003 to 2006, Greenfleet undertook seeding projects at 10 individual farms within the Jigsaw Farms network, with some remedial seeding undertaken in 2007 and 2008 to replace losses at some sites. More than 25% of Jigsaw Farms is now planted with forests or developed as wetlands. These areas were the least productive and degraded soils on the farm, so this action has not diminished production – in fact production now exceeds the ‘before new forests’ farm.Read more
- Trees Benefit Sale Dairy Farm
In the early 1990’s concern about the watertable rising to dangerous levels led Russell Napper to begin the first of many tree plantings on his dairy farm at Sale in Gippsland. The aim of planting was to reduce the watertable to control salinity, while also increasing production by encouraging pasture growth and providing shade and shelter for the cows. Since the start of the planting period results have been spectacular for pasture growth and productivity.Read more
- Formosa: Shelterbelts increased pasture production by 30%
Formosa is one of four Tasmanian properties where the benefits of treed shelterbelts on pasture growth and the environment are being measured by Private Forests Tasmania, CSIRO and the University of Tasmania. During the spring of 2017, stock were excluded from the Formosa paddock, and pasture was measured and mapped across the paddock. Pasture productivity was on average 30% higher in the sheltered half of the paddock compared to the unsheltered half.Read more
Farmers manage almost 60% of the land in Victoria, much of which has been cleared of trees. Many farmers want to revegetate part of their land to improve agricultural production, restore degraded land or as a source of additional income. At the same time, organisations and industries are keen to invest in planting trees on farms to increase biodiversity, improve water quality, increase carbon storage, or to produce timber.
The Trees on Farms platform has been developed as part of the Growing Landscape Carbon Project. The aim of the project is to connect landowners who want to grow more trees with organisations wanting to invest in trees, such as Catchment Management Authorities, Greening Australia, forest industries, farm forestry initiatives, carbon brokers and Landcare groups. Connecting landowners with investors will help build partnerships for growing trees for both conservation and for profit. Selecting the right tree species for the right sites will support revegetation on rural land that meets the needs of both landowners and investors.
The initial platform is a proof of concept that will be refined after feedback from investors and landowners. The platform uses the latest technology and builds on farm forestry knowledge on timber species, products, growth and management requirements, and experience with farmer-to-farmer learning in the Master Tree Growers program.
The Growing Landscape Carbon Project is funded by the Virtual Centre for Climate Change Innovations Grants project funded by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
The project is managed by the University of Melbourne working in collaboration with Carbon Markets Institute, Greening Australia, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Midway Ltd and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
Click here to view selected reports from the Growing Landscape Carbon Project.
For more information about the Growing Landscape Carbon Project contact:
Professor Rod Keenan firstname.lastname@example.org +61 0428 330 8860