Human-induced regeneration can be applied if an area:
Unlike other some other vegetation methods, HIR does not require active replanting of trees.
Instead, it works by changing management of stock, feral animals, weeds and ceasing clearing to reduce grazing pressure on vegetation including seedlings, allowing it to naturally regenerate into forest.
HIR projects are subject to permanence obligations of 25 or 100 years.
Before European colonisation of Australia, the dry arid and semi-arid rangelands supported few grazing animals - a few mobs of kangaroos with dingoes keeping their populations in check. As a result, the rangeland ecosystems had little grazing pressure.
As more of Australia opened up for rangeland livestock grazing, the land experienced a large increase in grazing pressure. After decades of research, we now know that high grazing pressure can reduce carbon storage, biomass, biodiversity and ecosystem function.
In 2013, the Clean Energy Regulator (Australian Government) introduced Human-Induced Regeneration of Permanent Even-Aged Forest 1.1 Methodology as a means of increasing carbon storage to mitigate climate change. This program rewards landholders with Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) for successful carbon capture by changing management to allow forest regeneration.
In areas of low rainfall, stocking can alter the landscape, transforming woodlands to open plains and shrublands. This process occurs when feed grasses are eaten or die, leaving tree and plant seedlings vulnerable to hungry herbivores. Over time, seedlings are continuously eaten, leaving woodlands often unable to recruit the next generation.
Through management activities such as stopping mechanical destruction, reducing stocking rate and the number of waterpoints, controlling feral animals and implementing rotational grazing, the suppression of native forest is relaxed. Native forest can begin to regrow and regenerate - storing carbon in the woody trunks and biomass.
The amount of carbon stored is calculated using the government-endorsed modelling tool called FullCAM.