Sequestering Carbon


Sequestering Carbon

Where to plant vegetation in the landscape?

South West Catchments Council (SWCC) engaged the services of Simon Neville (Ecotones & Associates) to facilitate and undertake an analysis and produce maps to:

  • Identify where tree plantings could fit into the landscape without causing adverse impacts.
  • Provide clarity to Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) proponents when considering whether their carbon emission abatement projects adhere to Regional NRM plans and do not have unintended impacts by taking into consideration priority agricultural land, hydrology and biodiversity.

The process for obtaining this information was to form a Technical Working Group and undertake a facilitated process using a decision support tool (MCAS-S – Multi Criteria Analysis Shell for Spatial Decision Support).

The final output – where to plant vegetation in the landscape – can be viewed in the web browser below.

The full report, “Spatially representing South West Catchments Council priorities for bio-sequestration plantations and high biodiversity planting under climate change” (Simon Neville, May 2014) can be viewed here.


The project involved six stages:

  1. Pre-Planning
  2. Initial Workshop (26th February 2014)
  3. Component Planning
  4. MCAS-S Model Setup
  5. 2nd Workshop for Components (26th March 2014)
  6. Create Final datasets & GIS project; Report

The project deliverables were produced through an MCAS-S process which delivered four major components (including map outputs):

  • Component 1 – What landscapes need to be protected from carbon plantings?
  • Component 2 – Where would SWCC encourage low biodiversity carbon plantings (e.g. monocultures, tree-crops)?
  • Component 3 – High value biodiversity or conservation areas (intrinsic/internal values)
  • Component 4 – Where in the landscape does SWCC want carbon plantings to enhance habitat corridors and protect high biodiversity areas?

Three of these components (1, 2 & 4) are derived from three ‘Key Questions’ developed in Albany on 19th February 2014, at a meeting of the south west WA NRM climate change officers. This organisation of components provides a clear framework for the deliverables under the project objectives, and provides the basis for a consistent set of guiding principles for CFI investment across NRM regions.

A large amount of data was processed in order to create the final outputs, which have been combined together into operational maps for the SWCC Staff. The final map provides a set of outcomes, based on the hierarchy of uses shown here.

The hierarchy indicates which uses take precedence and in what order. We have used this to rank different options and create the final output, indicating the priority areas for both low-biodiversity planting (e.g. plantations) and high-biodiversity planting. It also indicates areas where planting is not a priority use.

We would like to sincerely thank all those that attended workshops and provided valuable input into this project.