About Forest Carbon Offsets

Carbon offsets are a form of trade. When businesses buy an offset, they are funding projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions to compensate for their own environmental impact. Carbon offsets can include renewable energy, resource conservation, and forestry projects.

Forest carbon offsets are created when people voluntarily manage forests in such a way as to capture or prevent carbon dioxide or another greenhouse gas (GHG) from being released into the atmosphere. There are several different types of forest carbon offset projects:

  • Avoided conversion (AC): Those which prevent the conversion of a forest to a non-forest use;
  • Afforestation/reforestation (AR): Those which involve re-planting degraded forests; and
  • Improved forest management (IFM): Those which involve actively managing the forest to improve its overall quality.

What Should Landowners Consider?

In thinking about participating in the carbon market, there are four key factors that landowners should consider to determine whether offsets are a cost effective option for them. They include:

  1. Whether the landowner is willing to commit to long-term ownership of the property and a long-term offsetting agreement.
  2. Whether the land is already held under an easement, restricting the permitted management activities.
  3. The current amount of timber that is growing on the land compared to the regional average.
  4. The amount of forestland that is under consideration to qualify for forest carbon offsets.

How to Determine your Land’s Offsetting Potential

LOW possibility if your land:

  • Has recently been heavily harvested
  • Is under an existing easement that prevents all future timber harvesting

MEDIUM possibility if your land:

  • Has recently been harvested or has less timber volume compared to average land in the region
  • Is under an easement that restricts only some timber harvesting

HIGH possibility if your land:

  • Has >20% more timber volume compared to other lands in the region
  • Is not already subject to an easement that restricts timber harvesting
  • Landowner is willing and able to enter into a long-term contract

For more information about Forest Carbon Offsets click here