Carbon Positive Australia (CPOZ) is a charity that exists to empower and encourage everyone in Australia to take action that revitalises and improves the health of landscapes and communities across the country. We do this through funding carefully selected tree planting projects and providing inspiring education programs. We plant to offset carbon emissions and encourage everyone to make climate-healthy choices that go beyond being 'carbon neutral’. While reducing our C02 and equivalent emissions is essential to limit the impacts of climate change, developing a 'climate positive' approach has far wider social, environmental and economic benefits
As an organisation, our remit for the past twenty years has been to plant and restore land that has become degraded, using carbon offsetting as the mechanism to fund that work.As the years have passed, our focused and unique approach to land restoration prioritises biodiversity and ecosystem health.”
Louise says that offsetting should be the last resort to reduce emissions - not the first strategy. The first step in reducing your carbon footprint is understanding it and its impact, which is why CPOZ developed a free, online calculator tool.
We were one of the first organisations in Australia to have an online carbon footprint calculator.”
Over the last 12 months, CPOZ has been supporting communities that are feeling the impacts of climate change through their planting projects.
Whether in urban areas where you’ve got heat impact or regional and remote areas where communities are experiencing soil erosion, salinity or water issues, planting trees can be used to mitigate climate impacts.”
CPOZ partners with other environmental organisations and landholders who want to improve the health of their land in a biodiverse way while also improving their ability to farm sustainably.
Louise expressed gratitude and pride that both the landholders and donors to CPOZ have a good understanding of biodiversity, with many coming from scientific backgrounds. Together they work in partnership to provide a wealth of knowledge about biodiverse planting.
Last year, Louise presented at the 2021 Biodiversity Conference in WA, which had the theme of resilient landscapes. She explained how CPOZ helped restore Hill View in the Northern Wheatbelt and how by valuing biodiversity and understanding its impact on our environment and well-being we can encourage investment into land restoration.
While we’re not a large charitable organisation, our impacts are big, especially here in Western Australia.”
When undertaking a new project, the CPOZ team researches what native flora and fauna are in the surrounding areas by finding remnant vegetation to collect seeds. They also work with organisations like “The Conservation Council of WA” (CCWA) volunteer citizen scientists so that they can identify whether native bird and insect species return to the site after the planting.
The way these plants are situated when planting is also essential; the typical straight rows used for carbon capture projects may be more efficient at capturing carbon, but they do not support thriving wildlife.
Increasing the native plant species to mimic the natural environment, attracts birds and animals and supports biodiversity. It also decreases coloniser species that have more opportunities to thrive in monoculture and low species planting. The planting pattern is also essential to encourage wildlife, the straight lines often used in carbon farming projects may be more efficient for carbon capture but it does not reflect natural patterns.”
According to Louise, projects that do not support biodiversity and other co-benefits are not as beneficial.
Planting five or six species of plants is not biodiverse. In most West Australian native environments, even our shrub lands, there are hundreds of species so a five or six species planting is not biodiverse. We must encourage everyone to think about biodiversity when planning a carbon project. In particular, we are seeing large emitters entering the market, and we need to ensure that the planting they undertake has long-term beneficial impacts for the environment and carbon sequestration. They also need to be reducing their carbon emissions not just offsetting”
CPOZ works with individuals and businesses alike to plant in a biodiverse way that will restore the land to healthy and thriving ecosystems.
While we are not an advocacy organisation, we want to ensure that we treat our precious land resource in a way that benefits all.”
In demonstrating what genuine biodiverse planting looks like, and the benefits it derives for emissions drawdown and ecosystem health, CPOZ is educating individuals, businesses and governments on how to take a holistic approach to climate action in this space.