LAND Discussion: with Louise Tarrier, CEO of Carbon Positive Australia

"An important part of starting a business for me, was to have the ability to support important causes & bring awareness to the need for businesses to focus on the health of the environment as a part of their growth strategies. Partnering with Carbon Positive Australia was a non-negotiable and the partnership started even prior to the brand launching. Supporting Carbon Positive Australia is a pivotal step in working toward LAND Essentials becoming a carbon positive business. I am so excited to have spoken to CEO of CPA, Louise Tarrier, on the importance of the work CPA are doing, how we can contribute & how LAND's partnership contributes to a better tomorrow..." - Jaimi-Lee, Founder. 




Tell us about the work that Carbon Positive Australia does & why it’s more important than ever in today’s landscape?
 

We empower everyone in Australia to take positive climate action, and we work alongside our many partners to revitalise and improve the health of landscapes and communities across the country. We do this through funding carefully selected tree planting projects and providing inspiring education programs, including our newly revamped individual carbon footprint calculator. We have been restoring land through ecologically sensitive planting for the last 21 years, and we plant on degraded land to offset carbon emissions. Lastly, we 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. Our planting benefits nature, community, and the broader wellbeing of our regions.

Let’s talk regeneration, what does it mean and how is it going to play a role in the future health of the Australian landscape? 

Regeneration is a means to restore ecosystem health, provide habitat, and future-proof Australia against climate change. Over the last 100 years, our land has been cleared and intensive agricultural use has eroded and destroyed soil and ecosystem health.

Our carbon projects seek to restore landscape health and provide carbon capture. We plant a wide mix of species to encourage wildlife, birdlife, insects, and varied flora. Where possible, we plant trees that replicate areas near the planting site that haven’t been cleared and include trees that are native to the area. We only plant native trees.

We specialise in planting on degraded land, particularly where there are salt impacts and/or soil and wind erosion. Since the 1920s, land clearing has been an issue throughout Australia. Over 44% of Australia’s forest and woodlands have been cleared, and areas, such as the South West’s biodiversity hotspot, have dramatically lost species biodiversity and abundance.

Land clearing doesn’t just result in the devastating loss of vegetation; it also significantly affects surrounding communities, such as erosion, increased salinity, habitat loss, fragmentation, biodiversity loss, species loss, and ecosystem services disruption.

It is crucial for our communities, conservation efforts, and agricultural economy to restore Australian native plant communities.

But with our changing climate, it is not as simple as popping a seed in the ground and taking a step back. We need to monitor the sites regularly over at least six to seven years and infill plant where necessary. We are creating sites that will continue to grow and develop over the next 100 years, and we are planting for the future now, creating a legacy for our children and grandchildren.

You’ve recently extended your work across the country from WA to NSW, can you speak to the Nimbin project and why this site was of importance? 

The Nimbin project is located in a medium to high value koala habitat area and will link up a wildlife corridor that extends through to Nightcap National Park. Koalas have been seen on the project property, both in the trees and on the ground, as well as on neighbouring properties. There’s also an abundance of wallabies who have recently been spotted frolicking in the spring clover!

This project will be a biodiverse carbon planting of 27.5 hectares – a mix of over 100 endemic dry rainforest, riparian and sclerophyll species that will include many koala food trees such as Forest Red Gums (koala’s absolute favourite), Tallowwood and Grey Gums (which they also love). An additional 6 hectares of the property will be treated with bush regeneration techniques that aim to assist the naturally regenerating hoop pine, riparian and dry rainforest to thrive. Bush regeneration will begin in mid-September 2021. The carbon planting work – 69,500 trees! – will be completed in the 2022 planting season.

We’re working with our planting and bush regen contractor, Future Forests, to undertake this work on a somewhat tricky block. The property is undulating, with several steep sections that make access difficult in wet weather. The property shares a boundary with the stunning Webster Creek (right) and has a seasonal creek that crosses the block. Most of the trees will go into open setaria grass paddock, as the property was a working cattle farm until fairly recently.

We have plans for further work in the Northern Rivers area, however with the recent flooding we are taking any plans slowly. We are pleased to report that other than fixing the creek crossings we were able to go ahead with planting as planned at Nimbin. 

What can each of us do on a daily basis that will contribute to the health of the land and the planet? 

Taking action now can secure our future we can all:

  • Buy less, reduce, reuse, repair and recycle
  • Switch to banks, investment funds and superannuation funds that do not invest in fossil fuels
  • Support businesses with ambitious climate and environmental policies
  • Vote for parties with sound commitments and sensible policies to take action for a healthy climate
  • Support forest protectors
  • Plant native trees and shrubs and have a water-wise garden
  • Buy local, seasonal produce
  • Support organisations working in the climate space
  • Choose public transport

You can also read more about individual actions you can take and calculate your carbon footprint. Or listen to our podcast where a range of experts talk you through subjects such as waste and managing your money for a healthy climate future.

And from a business perspective, how does LAND’s contribution as a part of the Roots partnership with CPA contribute to the future health of the Australian environment? 

Support from partners such as LAND ensures that we can plan for the future, and that we can feel confident in taking on new projects. By sharing our work with their networks they also encourage others to take action for our climate. We are deeply grateful for the support that we receive because we know that it is making a genuine contribution towards a climate healthy environment for us all.

What’s next for CPA, can you share any upcoming projects you’re excited about? 

In 2021 after a survey of our supporters, we decided to use some of our donation funds and work with community groups providing heat mitigation solutions in our cities. In 2022 alongside Dr. Grey Coupland of the Harry Butler Institute and other collaborators, we will be planting six Miyawaki forests in Perth, one in NSW and another in Victoria. Miyawaki forests are named after their pioneer – Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki – and were designed as highly biodiverse micro forests for urban areas.

The urban heat island effect is an increasing problem in Australian cities. When vegetation is cleared and replaced with buildings, bitumen, and concrete, the sun’s heat is much more readily absorbed. These materials absorb heat during the day, increasing temperatures significantly and releasing heat during the night. Pockets of urban heat have a severe impact on human and animal health, especially for the elderly, pregnant women, those who are unwell, and people who live in disinvested neighbourhoods. The death toll from heatwaves in Australia has exceeded that for any other environmental disaster, including floods, bushfires, and cyclones.

We will be funding these micro forests in schools and community parks. Planting Miyawaki forests offers schoolchildren multiple learning opportunities (including monitoring growth, species diversity, fauna, etc.). It enables them to take very practically empowering action in the face of climate change.

As well as planting in cities, we will also be continuing our work planting on degraded land, with a further 550 hectares of restoration work and a further 510 hectares of carbon planting planned across Western Australia and NSW in 2022/2023.

You can read more about the important work that Carbon Positive Australia do here