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Landowners cash in on timber they don’t cut

Landowners cash in on timber they don’t cut | Forest Carbon (beta) | Scoop.it

Polluters are paying two conservation organizations to manage forestlands the groups own in Maine in a way that increases the amount of carbon dioxide the trees remove from the atmosphere. The money the Downeast Lakes Land Trust and the Appalachian Mountain Club earn by selling so-called “carbon offsets” will be spent on managing forests they already own and buying additional forestland.


Some trees can still be harvested on these forests for products such as pulp, paper and timber. But deals require that ultimately, there will be more trees left standing than in the past.
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Downeast Lakes Land Trust in Washington County became the first organization in the country approved by the California Air Resources Board to sell $1 million worth of “forest carbon offsets” to industries there that need help meeting their legal obligation to reduce carbon emissions, said the trust’s executive director, Mark Berry. The carbon offsets are on 19,000 acres of Downeast Lakes Land Trust’s 34,000-acre Farm Cove Community Forest near Grand Lake Stream.


The Appalachian Mountain Club, the oldest outdoor recreation and conservation organization in the U.S., recently received final approval to sell carbon offsets on 10,000 of 37,000 preserved acres in its Katahdin Iron Works tract – more than half of the group’s 66,000 acres of land in Maine.
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Companies that exceed legal carbon dioxide limits are allowed to make up 8 percent of their total emissions through buying these “forest carbon offsets.”
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The land trust must commit to maintain the forests under the more rigorous management standards for 100 years, Berry said. The forests can still be harvested, but the deal requires that long-term tree-cutting be reduced, Berry said.

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For the moment, many potential offset investors – including large and small landowners, timber companies and state officials – don’t foresee enough financial return to warrant the expense of working a contract through to completion, said Maine State Forester Doug Denico.
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One deterrent is the degree of commitment. A hundred years is a long time to tie up the use of any land, even wild lands held for public use. That requirement limits the flexibility of land owners to either use their land or to sell it, because the 100-year commitment would continue under a new owner.


Also, the deals require that some additional land be set aside as “insurance” for the offset, in case trees on the original parcel are devastated by disease, pests or fire, for example. And reporting and verification requirements cost thousands of dollars per year, said Berry, the land trust director.

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Inconvenient truth of carbon offsets | Climate Etc.

Inconvenient truth of carbon offsets | Climate Etc. | Forest Carbon (beta) | Scoop.it
by Judith Curry Kevin Anderson explains why he refused to purchase a carbon offset, and why you should steer clear of them too. Nature has published an opinion piece by Kevin Anderson entitled The inconvenient truth of ...
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As world dithers on forest carbon rules, private investors go it alone - Thomson Reuters Foundation

As world dithers on forest carbon rules, private investors go it alone - Thomson Reuters Foundation | Forest Carbon (beta) | Scoop.it
As world dithers on forest carbon rules, private investors go it alone
Thomson Reuters Foundation
It also aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions through a forest protection project that sells carbon credits on the voluntary market.
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Ecosystem Marketplace - Carbon Partnership: Breaking New Ground

Ecosystem Marketplace - Carbon Partnership: Breaking New Ground | Forest Carbon (beta) | Scoop.it
Although New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme was the first in the world to accept forestry offsets, many local forestry projects are ineligible for the program, forcing them to turn to the voluntary carbon markets where ...
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