AAU (Assigned Amount Unit):

The emissions units allocated to Annex 1 countries.

See under the Kyoto Protocol on the basis of their quantified emission target for the first commitment period, 2008-2012. One AAU is equal to one tonne of CO2e.

AGS (Afforestation Grants Scheme):

The Afforestation Grants Scheme is a contestable fund designed to encourage more planting of trees in small forests and on farms. It was announced last year by the Government as part of its package of climate change initiatives and offers an alternative to the Emissions Trading Scheme (Forestry) as a way to encourage greater levels of greenhouse gas absorption by increasing the area of Kyoto-compliant new forest in New Zealand.

See for further details.

Carbon credits:

Credits awarded to projects that reduce or prevent CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.

CO2  (Carbon dioxide):

A naturally occurring greenhouse gas.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions:

CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere when fossil fuel and wood is burned.

Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e):

Usually, all greenhouse gases are expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents.  This means that the warming potential of each of the greenhouse gases is expressed in terms of the warming potential of carbon dioxide (= 1 unit of warming).  There are six main greenhouse gases, the last three of which are considered negligible for NZ production:

  • carbon dioxide (CO2), mainly from fossil fuel use; 
  • methane (CH4), mainly from animals and waste  (21 × the warming potential of CO2); 
  • nitrous oxide (N2O), mainly from agriculture (310 × the warming potential of CO2); 
  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), mainly from refrigerants; 
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), mainly from the electricity industry; and 
  • perfluorocarbons (PFCs), mainly from aluminium production.

carboNZeroCert TM:

The carboNZero programme enables organisations, individuals, events, products, or services to minimise their climate change impacts. carboNZero certification is available for organisations, products and services.

See for details.

Climate change:

Worldwide, our climate is changing. Changes include increasing temperatures, rising sea levels and a greater incidence of extreme weather, such as storms, heatwaves, droughts and floods. Much of this change is a result of human activities that increase the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Scientists expect that the world will continue to warm over the next 100 years, regardless of steps taken now to mitigate the change.

For more information visit the Landcare Research Climate Change pages.

CO2 Sink (also known as ‘Forest sink’):

That area of native forest providing CO2 sequestration.  For EBEX21® and the PFSI this area did not have ‘trees’ that can reach 5 m in height at maturity (at greater than 30 % cover) on it at 31 December 1989, as defined under the Kyoto Protocol.  This area is in the process of reverting to indigenous forest, ideally through natural regeneration with good seed sources nearby.


A legal agreement to ensure current and future landowners keep the area retired forever.


The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is the price-based mechanism established by Parliament to:

  • Reduce net greenhouse gas emissions below business-as-usual levels
  • Comply with our international obligations, including our Kyoto Protocol obligations.

The comprehensive scheme is a key part of overall climate change policy and involves all significant greenhouse gases and all sectors including forestry, agriculture, industry, energy, waste and liquid fossil fuels.  Forestry is the first sector to enter the ETS.

See for further details.

Exotic forest:

An exotic forest is a forest in which the dominant species does not occur naturally in New Zealand.

Forest sink:

See CO2 sink

Indigenous Forest:

A forest that predominantly comprises tree species native to New Zealand. For EBEX® this refers to a forest that is naturally regenerating or has already done so. See also ‘Natural regeneration’ and ‘Native forest.’

Kyoto Protocol:

A protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that includes emissions limitation or reduction commitments for ratifying countries listed in its Annex B (developed countries and Economies in Transition)

See for further information).


Must comply with the rules of the Kyoto Protocol and regulations that follow these.


Means the registered owner or owners from time to time of the freehold estate in the land.


Mitigation is the act of 'offsetting' the effects the CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere by a person, event, product, service, or organisation.

Native Forest:

A forest consisting of tree species mostly native to New Zealand. See also ‘Natural regeneration’ and ‘Indigenous forest.’

Natural Regeneration:

Natural forest regeneration (under EBEX21®) is restoring a piece of land back to a mature indigenous forest. It relies on minimal labour input (unlike planting trees). Instead, using careful site selection, it allows nature to take its course by letting vegetation grow back naturally.

NZEUR (New Zealand Emission Unit Register):

This is New Zealand's national registry to manage the accounting, reporting and reconciliation of emissions unit holdings and transactions as part of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and to meet New Zealand's commitment and obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

See for further details.

NZU (New Zealand Unit):

A carbon unit specific to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).


To counterbalance or compensate for CO2 emissions.

Orthographically corrected aerial photograph:

An aerial photograph that has had all the distortions due to camera tilt and surface relief removed. An orthophotograph has the advantages of a photograph in that all the visible features are displayed. It also has the constant scale and accuracy of a map.

PFSI (Permanent Forest Sink Initiative):

The Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI) is operated by MAF and promotes the establishment of permanent forests on previously unforested land. It is the mechanism by which landowners earn Kyoto-Protocol-compliant emission units (Assigned Amount Units or AAUs) for carbon sequestered in permanent forests established after 1 January 1990. The PFSI requires landowners to obtain a covenant on their land to guarantee the permanence of the stored carbon.

See for further details.

For a more comprehensive glossary of climate change terms visit the Landcare Research climate change glossary.