There are a number of concepts that are used regularly in discussions about carbon farming…

Carbon Farming: any landuse in which landowners capture economic benefit from carbon sequestration. Also refers to the production system for carbon credits and can include other activities as long as they do not conflict with the rules for the production of carbon credits.

Carbon sequestration: the natural process by which growing plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their tissues.

Each sequestered unit of carbon dioxide


a corresponding unit of greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere.

so carbon sequestrated is equal to avoiding emissions of greenhouse gases.

Carbon credit: the unit of allowable greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1metric ton of carbon dioxide (1 t CO2-e).  This is the unit of trade within the ETS (in NZ). Carbon credits function as a commodity because  they have standards to define their qualities, they can be measured and there are mechanisms for them to be traded.

Co-benefits: refers to the extra benefits from a project apart from the money for carbon credits. Projects focus on land used for carbon credits, but also consider a range of cultural, social and environmental benefits. Cultural or social benefits could be community development or meeting local employment targets. Environmental benefits could be biodiversity and water quality. A system to recognise “co-benefits” can help the market decide what associated credits are worth – if the project delivers more benefits that just carbon, buyers may pay a higher price for the credits.