Leveraging forest carbon programs

In last year’s newsletter, we introduced forest carbon programs that provide landowners compensation for the carbon their forests naturally absorb from the atmosphere. By partnering with these programs, landowners can tap into the growing carbon credit market and generate revenue by implementing sustainable forest management practices.

These programs act as intermediaries to connect landowners with organizations seeking carbon offsets. Some of them offer end-to-end services including feasibility studies, project development, third-party verification, carbon credit registration and credit sales. This enables landowners to monetize their forests’ carbon sequestration without prohibitive upfront costs or technical expertise.

Table 1 outlines some of the prominent forest carbon programs available in the market. Key programs include American Forest’s Family Forest Carbon Program, operating in five northeastern states; Blue Source, which covers North America; EP Carbon, with a global footprint requiring 5,000+ acres; Finite Carbon, encompassing over 3.5 million acres; Forest Carbon Works for properties 40+ acres nationwide; Green Assets, which necessitates 10,000+ acres; and NCX’s offering of short-term one-year contracts. While specific program requirements may differ, a common feature is the long-term commitment spanning from 40 to 100 years, with potential income for landowners ranging from $10 to $1,000 per acre over the contract period. By enrolling their forestland in these carbon programs, landowners not only gain a new source of revenue but also contribute to carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation efforts.

These programs provide a clear pathway for family forest owners to be duly compensated for the carbon value of their woodlands. They serve as a bridge for small landowners to enter the carbon markets that might have been inaccessible independently. As the forest carbon market continues to grow, these programs are poised to play an increasingly significant role in sustainable land management.

Table 1. Popular forest carbon projects.1

Program Applicable Locations Registry2 Project Type (Methodology) Term Minimum Acreage Minimum Potential Revenue
Family Forest Carbon Program MD, MA, MI, MN, NY, PA, VT, WV, WI VCS Improved forest management 10-20 years 30+ acres $160-$300/acre over contract period
Blue Source U.S. and Canada ACR, VCS, CAR, ARB Improved forest management 40 or 100 years 3,000+ acres $150-$1,000/acre over 10 years
Finite Carbon North America ACR, VCS, CAR Deferred timber harvest, improved forest management 40 or 100 years 2,000+ acres *Contact for details
Finite Carbon – Core Carbon North America ACR Deferred timber harvest, improved forest management 40 years 40-5,000 acres $20+/acre (projected)*Contact for more details
Forest Carbon Works United States (lower 48) Verra, ARB Improved forest management 125 years 40+ acres $20-$100 /acre/year over a 25-year membership
Green Assets *Contact for details ARB *Contact for details 100 years 10,000+ acres *Contact for details
NCX United States (lower 48) VCS Deferred timber harvest 1 year No minimum restrictions *Contact for details

1The author of this table does not claim affiliation with any carbon forest programs, does not take responsibility for the information in this table, and does not guarantee any revenue information listed. This table is meant as only a general guide for forest carbon projects and is not meant to be a primary source of information. For exact membership and contractional terms, please contact forest carbon programs directly.

2ACR: American Carbon Registry, ARB: Air Resources Board, CAR: Climate Action Reserve, VCS: Verified Carbon Standard.

5/15/2024 10:13:34 PM
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