Restored ecosystems have the capacity to function as high-quality carbon sinks for which carbon credits can be obtained. Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative – introduced in August 2011 – provides a legal framework for the development of such carbon sequestration projects. The initiative is closely linked to other national and supranational commitments to reducing emissions, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union Emission Trading Scheme.
Legislated carbon offset programs create excellent opportunities for investments in ecological restoration. However, the full suite of returns achieved from investing in natural capital reach far beyond this one ecosystem service. Next to carbon sequestration, other tangible and less tangible services are also delivered by a restored biodiverse ecosystem. Habitat is recreated for native fauna, water cycles are filtered and stabilized, poor land is taken out of production improving agricultural productivity, and the unique beauty of our native Australian woodlands and forests are reintegrated into our landscapes.