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Online tool calculates carbon credits


Brigid Veale
8 March 2007
As carbon trading becomes an increasingly important tool in the fight against global warming, a new online carbon credit calculator has been developed to help landholders and farmers quickly and easily determine the value of timber plantations.

Developed by Southern Cross University PhD candidate Bill Smart, the carbon calculator has been included on the Australian Forest Corporation (AFC) website. The AFC has been accredited by the NSW government as a carbon abatement certificate provider.

Bill said this was the first web-based calculator of its kind to provide easily accessible information on the value of timber plantations, planted for environmental purposes or for harvesting.

“It is designed as a ‘ready reckoner’ which will give you an indication of the carbon credits you can claim,” Bill said.

“We have a lot of agriculture on land that is not suited for it and we have huge cattle paddocks that are not particularly good for grazing.

“Typically your average farmer knows how much he gets for cattle per hectare. What I am trying to show is what you can be earning for carbon credits and/or timber production.”

The calculator, for example, can tell a landholder that if they have 21 hectares of land and plant flooded gums as an environmental planting (carbon credits only), they will be able to claim approximately $283,000 in carbon credits over the next 100 years, with $178,000 of that amount available in the first 20 years. (Calculation based on the variables of Bill's own property).

“This is the first calculator designed to give you an idea of what the possibilities are. What I am trying to show is what you can be earning for carbon credits, how that ‘s spread over time and in particular the value in the early years of a timber plantation,” he said.

Bill, whose expertise lies in the field of computer programming, has received support from forestry experts including Southern Cross University’s Chair of Forestry Professor Jerry Vanclay.

The calculator, which has already been accessed by close to 500 people, is also being assessed for its useability, as part of Bill’s PhD.

“This was wholly and utterly written for the web. It’s accessible by anyone, anywhere in the world. What I’m looking at is the acceptance of how people use these sorts of information systems,” he said.

The calculator, which is specifically set up for Australian timber plantations, can also be easily adapted to other countries.

For information on the calculator (or to try it) visit the website at*.

Photo: Bill Smart has developed a web-based carbon credit calculator.