The Nature Conservancy and Blue Source Launch Innovative Forest Carbon Offering for Private Landowners to Advance Forest Conservation
Putting the Power of the Market to Work to Protect Forests and Fight Climate Change
Harrisburg, PA | December 03, 2009
The Nature Conservancy today launched Working Woodlands, a model forest conservation program that aims to protect forests and fight climate change through an agreement with Blue Source to jointly develop market-based incentives that reward landowners who demonstrate exceptional forest management practices.
“Working Woodlands is a new model of conservation that puts the growing market for carbon credits to work as a means to promote high quality forest conservation strategies on private lands,” said Dylan Jenkins, the Pennsylvania director of forest conservation for The Nature Conservancy.”
Building on the Conservancy and Blue Source’s combined experience with land protection, forest certification and carbon finance, Working Woodlands uses an innovative combination of long-term working forest conservation agreements, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forest management certification, and carbon market payments to make conservation a more attractive proposition for landowners.
The program is designed to eliminate out-of-pocket, up-front costs for landowners. The Conservancy will provide services for FSC certification, and Blue Source will provide financing for carbon credit development. The resulting offsets will be added to Blue Source’s portfolio and subsequently marketed to companies that have an interest in purchasing forest carbon credits as part of an effort to manage their net greenhouse gas emissions.
“This alliance provides a means for landowners in the U.S. to embrace forest conservation at no up-front cost and enables them to receive timber and carbon revenues as a result of their commitment to improved environmental stewardship,” says Blue Source Vice President, Roger Williams. “We see this as an evolution in land conservation and have structured this program to make it easy for landowners to participate.”
“There are many forest carbon offsets in existence, but the Working Woodlands model offers very credible offsets because they are tied to FSC certification,” said Luke Dillinger, wood procurement forester at Domtar’s Johnsonburg paper mill, an FSC-certified facility and a major market for Pennsylvania forest products. The program offers a unique, market-based mechanism to allow forest landowners to manage for the long-term health of the forest, while maximizing the sustainable revenue stream off of their properties, he said.
The program was developed in Pennsylvania but is designed to spread to other Appalachian states, Jenkins said. “We’re at the forefront of creating a viable, high-quality forest carbon program. Our hope is that over the next two to three years we’ll demonstrate the kind of success that will make others want to adopt our model in their neck of the woods.”
"Working forests are a keystone of The Nature Conservancy's conservation efforts, here in Pennsylvania and around the world,” said Bill Kunze, state director of The Nature Conservancy’s Pennsylvania Chapter. “Harnessing the power of markets in service to the long-term ecological and economic health of our forests can yield so much benefit for both people and nature."
How it Works
- The Conservancy will offer Working Woodlands to landowners in Pennsylvania who have forests of at least 250 acres in size where FSC certification would significantly advance the conservation goals of long-term forest protection and sustainable forest management.
- Cooperating with private forest consultants, the Conservancy will develop forest management plans that are certified under the Forest Stewardship Council. These plans will then be coupled with long-term management agreements to protect lands from forest conversion or unsustainable management practices.
- All forest products produced from Working Woodlands properties will be FSC certified, including conventional solid wood for veneer and timber, as well as low-grade pulp and woody biomass for paper and energy production.
- Blue Source and the Conservancy will work to ensure that the long-term management agreements are structured such that the resulting increase in forest carbon sequestered on the land can be quantified, verified and sold.
- Blue Source will work with landowners to finance projects and to market and sell carbon credits generated by long-term forest protection and the improvement in forest conditions that result from FSC management, giving landowners additional financial incentive to manage their forest in a sustainable manner.
Blue Source offers multiple approaches for reducing, sequestering and, where practical, beneficially using greenhouse gas emissions to create environmental and economic value. The company provides experience and access to capital for project development across all industries, including the technical resources to produce high quality carbon offsets for North America’s voluntary and compliance markets, and has projects listed on all of North America’s leading public registries, including the Climate Action Reserve, the Voluntary Carbon Standard, the American Carbon Registry, and the Alberta Emissions Offset Registry. For more than 10 years, Blue Source has been a climate change solution for leading businesses and has offices in Salt Lake City, Calgary, Houston, Denver, Raleigh, San Francisco, Toronto and New York. www.bluesource.com
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.