6 June 2011 – A program called Trees for Tomorrow is being used to set new standards in sustainable funding so carbon sink plantations also recognise biodiversity and reckless monoculture planting is stopped, organisers say.

The program is the idea of the WA based not-for-profit carbon advisory firm and carbon offset retailer, Carbon Neutral.

It involves a revolving system where the firm buys ecologically fragile landscapes, restores them with strategic revegetation, secures carbon credits and ultimately sells on the estate to finance further purchases.

Chairman of Carbon Neutral, Matt Porter said that the purchase of  land would contribute to a cycle that ensures that biodiversity remains an important factor of carbon sink programs.

He said a number of publicly listed companies create carbon sink plantations using mallee eucalypt trees and, while the trees sequester carbon, the benefit to the environment is limited.

“Southern Western Australia is one of the world’s significant biodiversity hotspots and carbon abatement programs, or biosequestration activities are an incredible opportunity to also conserve and restore natural woodlands and forests,” he said.

“By allowing monoculture plantings in this fragile environment, we ignore the complexity and sensitivity of the area’s ecosystem.  A much more comprehensive approach would incorporate biodiverse plantings to recreate natural habitats and reconnect native species.”

Mr Porter said the same area was also facing enormous pressures through land clearing and climate change, underscoring the importance of the work Carbon Neutral was doing, as biodiversity helps ecosystems build resilience and adapt to changing climatic conditions.

The Trees for Tomorrow program was launched on 2 June 2011 with the release of three parcels of land, all located in rural Western Australia.

Keith Bradby, director of Gondwana Link, an organisation that supports the work of Carbon Neutral to restore biodiversity across Southern Western Australia, said the initiative was important.

“Ecological restoration is an essential but expensive exercise that needs more than donations and occasional government grants. Carbon has to become a major part of the solution to our challenges in south western Australia,” Mr Bradby said.

“The prevailing carbon offset system is flawed as it can permanently lock up land with little regard for biodiversity and the very significant ecological values we achieve by linking habitats. I encourage anyone who has a commitment to the environment to support Trees for Tomorrow.”

Sales agent for the land release is newly formed  environmentally-focused real estate company, ARCeden, founded by Marc Drexel’s.

Mr Drexel said the offer was a “significant investment opportunity.”

“However, it is not merely an ethical and moral investment, or even a well located lifestyle opportunity.  The new owner may have potential for some of the carbon sequestration benefits and a future income from carbon sink tree plantings.  It is an investment that will resound through the generations.”

Carbon Neutral land sale prices start from AUD$269,000 to AUD$499,000 and carbon credit profit share incentives can be negotiated.

editorial@thefifthestate.com.au