The voluntary Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme will certify farms and farm businesses for their biodiversity management. This will allow farmers to showcase their stewardship of the land to communities and markets.
The scheme will help farmers take advantage of the growing demand for sustainable food and fibre products.
The scheme was designed and is being trialled by the Australian National University. This built on earlier work by the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Farm Institute. Research was funded under the Agriculture Stewardship Package.
Read more about this initial research on the Australian Farm Institute’s website.
The scheme will recognise good practices and promote biodiversity friendly farming.
The scheme may also help:
- support access to markets by showing the biodiversity credentials of Australian agriculture
- create price premiums for produce, which could translate along agricultural supply chains
- increase access to information and technical support for farmers to improve biodiversity and boost productivity
- simplify sustainability certification
Scheme Logo and Standard
The overarching rules for certification are set out in the Scheme Standard. Certified farms will be able to use the logo to support their marketing.
The scheme will be underpinned by science. This includes a credible independent assessment of biodiversity outcomes on-farm.
There will be 3 main parts of the certification process:
- initial certification
- biodiversity management planning
The native vegetation condition is assessed at the farm level and compared with the regional level. These are measured on a scale from zero to 100. The scale ranges from complete loss of native vegetation to undisturbed remnant vegetation. Measurements use a combination of remote sensing information and site assessment data.
Biodiversity management planning
Tailored plans will be developed to maintain or improve biodiversity condition on the farm. This is based on vegetation type, condition and its contribution to regional value. For example, its uniqueness and conservation status. It also considers how vegetation supports threatened species.
This is assessed on whether a farm’s biodiversity condition has been maintained or improved over time according to its management plan.
There are 3 certification levels – gold, green or provisional. To be eligible the vegetation condition score must be 10 or more. This is the national minimum condition threshold.
Gold level certification
Gold level will be available to farms that score 50 or more. This is the national biodiversity friendly condition benchmark. Farms must commit to maintaining the biodiversity condition.
Farms with a score that is equal to or more than their regional benchmark may also be eligible. They must commit to improving biodiversity condition.
Green level certification
Green level will be available to farms with a score that is equal to or more than their regional benchmark. They must commit to maintaining biodiversity condition.
Provisional level will be available to farms with a score that doesn’t meet their regional benchmark. These farms must commit to specific activities to improve biodiversity condition. These activities must be projected to meet certification thresholds within a specified timeframe.
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