Australia is launching a program to reward landholders for conducting biodiversity-enhancing projects, Bloomberg News reports. The government will award these credits to conservation projects that can prove a measurable, positive impact on biodiversity. These include projects that protect waterways, improve drought resilience, and provide habitat for native species.
This conservation initiative comes as Australia suffers a staggeringly high extinction rate — nearly 10% of the country’s land mammals since before colonization have gone extinct — and over 1,700 native plant and animal species are currently endangered.
The payments will both cover the cost of the projects and award additional biodiversity credit. These will operate similarly to Australia’s carbon credits, which recipients can sell to other businesses or back to the government. Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator will oversee both programs.
In the months ahead, the government will determine the details of the program, such as how exactly the credits will be verified and measured.
“This is a chance to support farmers using their knowledge and expertise in a way that benefits us all — a chance to shape a better future,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a press release.