An aerial view of Zoar Valley forests and a river.
Zoar Valley View Drone footage from the Zoar Valley in New York © Andrew Nisbet

Stories in New York

Working Woodlands in New York

A creative approach to fighting climate change

About Working Woodlands

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 C008922 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.

Learn more about the program and its benefits for landowners.

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 gchapin@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.

Working Woodlands in Action: Saving a Forest, Protecting Clean Water and Strengthening a City

Did you know an acre of mature forest can capture a ton of carbon every year? Nature is the sleeping giant in solving climate change, and nature-based solutions—like protecting land and forests—are among the cheapest and most effective ways to store carbon, the leading driver of climate change. Thanks to a new and innovative partnership, the City of Albany Water Department and Albany Water Board and The Nature Conservancy in New York are taking a leap forward in tackling one of the greatest challenges our planet faces.

It was an agreement years in the making. Troy Weldy, our Senior Conservation Manager, met Amy Walsh, a forester with the Albany Water Board, and discussed participation in TNC’s Working Woodlands program. Amy immediately recognized the benefits of the program for the residents of Albany. While forest lands that surround city water supplies may be thought of as protected, there is not always a formal agreement to permanently protect these lands.

By participating in the Working Woodlands program, the City of Albany keeps the landscape intact, improves forest health, protects drinking water and generates a new source of revenue. The agreement permanently protects the Basic Creek and Alcove Reservoirs and the surrounding forested lands—a total of 6,400 acres of land and water.

Girl drinking water from a water fountain.
A Win-Win Not only are we keeping Albany's forests healthy through the Working Woodlands program, but we're also helping to protect the town's primary source of drinking water. © iStock

In addition to protecting the primary source of Albany’s drinking water, the surrounding forests absorb and store carbon, which limits greenhouse gas emissions. The forest also serves as a home to all kinds of species, including bald eagles and other rare and threatened birds.

Working Woodlands helps landowners sustainably manage their forests while generating a sustainable new revenue stream. Certification into the program requires a full forest and carbon inventory, a Forest Stewardship Council® FSC C008922 approved forest management plan, implementation, and monitoring.

Not only are we keeping forests healthy through the Working Woodlands program, TNC is also helping to generate a new revenue source for the Albany Water Board by developing and marketing the carbon credits to the voluntary carbon market, in which businesses and individuals buy credits to offset their carbon emissions. It’s a win-win in the fight against climate change.