Drone footage from the Zoar Valley in New York
Zoar Valley View Drone footage from the Zoar Valley in New York © Andrew Nisbet

Stories in New York

Working Woodlands

A creative approach to fighting climate change


Do you know that the destruction of forests contributes more to global greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, planes, trains and ships in the world combined? In New York, we are fortunate that forests cover 63% of our lands with 18.9 million acres of woodlands that can be used to supply the budding carbon market. Here’s how:

Working Woodlands is a program that encourages landowners to preserve forests by providing rewards for the carbon their trees capture and store.

Through Working Woodlands, our forest ecologists work with landowners to analyze the ecological potential of each property. We create a sustainable forest management plan for the property, determining its potential as wildlife habitat and for fighting climate change. The plan includes Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification–a financial tool that assigns a monetary value to the service that trees provide by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – along with the creation of carbon credits.

FSC certification and the sale of carbon credits offers financial benefits for landowners. Timber with an FSC certification can be sold at a premium. Corporations, small businesses, and even airline travelers can buy carbon credits through a variety of voluntary markets

Benefits for Landowners

In exchange for agreeing to keep their forested lands undeveloped, landowners get a wide variety of conservation and management assistance to help them improve the value and the health of their forests. Services provided to landowners include:

  • A full forest and carbon inventory
  • A 10-year forest management plan
  • Enrollment in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification
  • 100% of all FSC-certified timber and wood biomass revenues
  • Access to high-quality carbon markets and the majority share of forest carbon revenues

We cover the costs of these services by generating high-quality carbon revenue for the landowner and sharing in this new revenue stream.

How It Works

Participants in Working Woodlands complete the following steps with the help of the Conservancy and partners:

  • Initial Assessment: Foresters conduct a rapid forest inventory and work with our carbon partners to develop a financial and conservation proposal for the landowner to consider.
  • Forest Resource Inventory and Analysis: We analyze forests and wildlife habitats on the property and create a final report for the landowner.
  • Forest Management Plan: The Working Woodlands team develops a custom FSC-certified forest management plan for the property covering at least the next 10 years.
  • Sustainable and Certified Forest Product Markets: All forest products flowing from the property may be sold as FSC-certified wood.
  • Forest Carbon Payments: Revenue is gained from selling on carbon markets.

This approach allows landowners to manage their forests sustainably with no upfront costs. Revenue generated by FSC-certified products from these enrolled properties goes directly to the landowner. Landowners can also pursue additional revenue from sequestration credits sold on the nation’s growing carbon market. 

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, properties must include a minimum of 2,000 forested acres. Landowners interested in enrolling their properties in the Working Woodlands program should send an e-mail to tweldy@tnc.org with all the information below:

  • Name, e-mail, telephone number
  • Total acres
  • Total wooded acres
  • Property address
  • County, Township
  • Tax Map ID#

Please Note: All information submitted will be kept strictly confidential.