Forest Carbon Offsets

DSC_0783In recent years, forest carbon offsetting has emerged as a way for landowners to be compensated for sustainable forest management.

Carbon offsets are created when individuals or organizations take a voluntary action that results in the sequestration or the prevention of carbon dioxide or another greenhouse gas (GHG) being released into the atmosphere.

Forest carbon offsetting, in particular, presents an emerging opportunity for land trusts who are able to guarantee a project’s longevity through the securement of conservation easements. As a result, many land trusts across North America are now entering the carbon market and generating revenue to pay for future land acquisitions.

In 2012, the NBCLT partnered with Community Forests International to pilot an innovative approach to forest carbon offsetting and save a significant parcel of working land in the process. The Whaelghinbran Forest Carbon Offset Project saved over 200,000 hectares of sustainably-managed Acadian forest, and generated over $200,000 in revenue.

In reflecting upon this conservation success, the NBCLT launched the Carbon Trust Research Program to study forest carbon offsetting and evaluate its potential to serve as a self-financing mechanism for land trusts in the province of New Brunswick. The final report, resulting from Phase 1 of the Program, can be found here.

In 2016 the NBCLT launched an Outreach Phase of this Program to gauge landowners’ interest in earning carbon revenue from their woodlots. The NBCLT found that 95% of woodlot owners surveyed expressed interest in selling carbon offsets and 80% were willing to place an easement on their property to do so.

In 2017-2018 the NBCLT is excited to move past case studies and into real-world business planning to prepare for incoming carbon markets. Stay tuned for more details!