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Continued evolution of Australian forest-climate change policies

Harper, R.ORCID: 0000-0003-0268-2917 and Mitchell, C.D. (2014) Continued evolution of Australian forest-climate change policies. In: Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People: The Role of Research, XXIV IUFRO World Congress,, 5 - 11 October, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


Forests have continued to play a major role in Australia’s national climate change mitigation responses. Accounting for reduced rates of deforestation and increased afforestation/reforestation allowed Australia to meet its first commitment period (2008–2012) target in the Kyoto Protocol (KP) despite significant emissions growth in the economy. Major developments since the last World Congress have included: (1) Legislation to manage carbon in the economy and to allow access of carbon credits from reforestation and forest management (Carbon Farming Initiative, CFI). A new (2013) national government has pledged to rescind the carbon legislation, but retain aspects of the CFI; (2) A likely acceleration of deforestation in some Australian states, including both natural forests and short-rotation pulpwood plantations; (3) Inclusion of forest management in Australia’s reports to the second round of the KP; (4) Exclusion of natural forest residues from the national renewable energy scheme; and (5) The termination of the sub-national Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme. Despite approaches to forest carbon mitigation having been broadly similar between political parties in the past, distinct changes in approaches are becoming apparent. This is a continually evolving area and this paper will describe recent developments, the impact of these policies on climate change mitigation and key considerations for other jurisdictions.

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