Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Family Forest Carbon Program Now Open Across Pennsylvania Provides New Revenue Opportunities For Forest Landowners; 60 Enrolled So Far Covering 10,000 Acres

American Forest Foundation, a national conservation organization that works with family forest owners, and The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organization, announced expansion plans for their Family Forest Carbon Program, which empowers America’s rural family forest owners to improve  forest health while addressing climate change.

The Family Forest Carbon Program will open enrollment to landowners with as little as 30 acres up to 2,400 acres across all of Pennsylvania.

So far, 60 landowners are officially enrolled in the Family Forest Carbon Program covering about 10,000 acres.

Another 270 landowners with 43,000 acres have visited with a forester and are working through the enrollment process.

Approximately 2,000 qualified landowners have expressed interest in the program owning 275,000 across.

Families and individuals collectively own the largest portion – 39 percent – of U.S. forests.

However, less than one percent of the land in existing forest carbon projects are on properties under 1,000 acres in size. This is mostly due to high upfront costs, complexity and contract length.

“Family forest owners care about their land and want to do the right thing,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of AFF. “But most run into roadblocks, like the high cost of management and finding the right technical assistance, that prevent them from taking active steps to improve their forest. The Family Forest Carbon Program is designed to be an all-around resource for small landowners – providing them with guidance and support, as well as funding to be able to achieve their goals and make a meaningful conservation impact along the way.”

The Family Forest Carbon Program provides payments to family and individual landowners with small forest holdings to implement scientifically proven forest practices that increase the carbon sequestered and stored on the land. 

In addition, the program provides expert consultation from foresters to every landowner and creates a forest management plan customized for the landowner’s property.

“We are glad to have found the Family Forest Carbon Program. Not only are they providing us a revenue stream to help cover the costs of maintaining our forest, but they helped us create a plan for the future to address invasive species, tree health, wildlife and climate change. I am thankful that we were able to become a part of it,” said Louise Hartman, a landowner enrolled in the program.

Check Eligibility

Landowners can log on to the Family Forest Carbon Program, select their property, and see if their forest conditions and personal goals match with the requirements for enrollment. 

Enrollment is being offered for one of two improved management practices: Growing Mature Forests by engaging in sustainable harvesting practices; or Enhancing Future Forests by improving new forest growth by managing invasive species and undergrowth. 

Landowners can make a 10- or 20-year commitment based on the forest practice adopted. Payments to the landowner are determined by property size and forest conditions.

“Pennsylvania's forests are a critical natural resource for both the communities that rely on them and the many species of plants and animals that call them home. The Family Forest Carbon allows small-scale forest owners to tap into carbon markets and keep forests healthy and connected,” said Lori Brennan, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware.  “Healthy forests not only support the climate and local economies, they also protect clean water and provide vital habitat. We are excited to see this successful program expand further into Pennsylvania.”

The carbon captured by enrolled landowners will be measured and verified through a new carbon accounting methodology developed by TNC and AFF under Verra’s Verified

Carbon Standard that is on track to be approved by the end of the year. 

This new methodology advances the accuracy of the carbon calculation to ensure the program is providing a true climate benefit.  

The program then sells the carbon as verified carbon credits to companies who are taking a comprehensive approach to their climate goals—first reducing emissions before working to neutralize those they cannot eliminate.

The Family Forest Carbon Program was first launched in select counties in Pennsylvania in 2020.

For all the details, visit the Family Forest Carbon Program website.

Related Articles:

-- John Hoover: My Experience With The Family Forest Carbon Program That Pays Landowners To Implement Sustainable Forest Practices

-- Allegheny Land Trust Partners With Regen Network To Sell Carbon Credits To Support Local Land Conservation; Largest Sale Of Urban Forest Credits In U.S.

[Posted: November 17, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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