New approach to forest carbon accounting aims to improve accuracy and transparency

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Proposed by American Forestry Foundation

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2022 /CSRwire/ — A first-of-its-kind carbon accounting methodology for improved forest management (IFM), designed to provide more measurable evidence of climate impact and address access issues for small forest owners, has been officially approved for use in the United States and around the world.

Developed by the American Forest Foundation (AFF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for use as part of the organization’s Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP), the methodology has been endorsed by Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard, the voluntary program most widely used greenhouse gas in the world. , after a rigorous and multi-year evaluation process.

“Empowering family forest owners to adopt climate-smart forestry plays a critical role in addressing climate change,” said Rita Hite, president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation. “Endorsement of the pioneering Family Forest Carbon Program methodology unlocks the potential for landowners to address the need for more transparent, credible and trustworthy carbon programs.”

This is the first forestry methodology verified by Verra to use an innovative concept called a dynamic baseline rather than a projected baseline. The methodology compares the carbon sequestered on land enrolled in a carbon program to a control group, or synthetic composite, of very similar forests that are not enrolled in the program. By measuring the difference between forests over time, the methodology isolates the program as the key intervention that can be credited with creating the carbon benefit. This provides more discernible evidence of additionality. A project only has additionality if carbon sequestration and storage would not have occurred in the absence of the project.

“The concept of dynamic baselines has been around for a while, but it took years of hard work and scientific consultation by AFF, TNC and TerraCarbon to turn these concepts into a rigorous methodology that works in the industry. forestry,” said Spencer Plumb, director, Forest Carbon Innovation at Verra. “This is the kind of innovation that ensures the continued evolution of carbon markets, and it could lead to a dramatic expansion of OIF practices in countries with national forest inventories.”

The Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP) is specifically designed to help owners of forests as small as 30 acres to participate in carbon projects. Traditionally, forest carbon projects have been created on properties of 5,000 acres or more, which means owners of small forest properties have been kept out of 99% of forest carbon projects. This is due to the high initial costs and the complexity of launching these projects. Yet 61% of the climate-mitigation potential in America’s forests is in these small plots of family land. The FFCP, in part through its new methodology, removes barriers to market entry for owners of small forest properties, enabling them to cope with climate change while earning income from their land.

“Dealing with the climate emergency requires a comprehensive strategy,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “Families and individuals own 39% of America’s forests and must be part of the climate solution. This new methodology not only makes it easier for these forest owners to join the fight against climate change, but it also guarantees transparent, measurable and significant carbon reductions.

In 2021, international leaders called for more transparency and accuracy in carbon accounting to ensure the integrity of voluntary carbon markets. AFF and TNC’s new methodology will be available for use by other carbon projects in any of the 112 countries with a national forest inventory system.

The Family Forest Carbon Program is currently recruiting landowners in Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia and plans to expand to other regions next year. The program will run its first measurement and verification cycle using the new methodology in early 2023, leading to the first transfer of verified carbon credits to buyers thereafter.

For more information contact:

  • Elizabeth Greener, Communications Consultant, American Forest Foundation: [email protected]; 202-253-1096
  • Adrienne Egolf, Associate Director of Communications, The Nature Conservancy: [email protected]; 407-808-8031

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About the American Forest Foundation

The American Forest Foundation is a national conservation organization that works with a broad coalition of partners to empower family forest owners to have a meaningful conservation impact around carbon sequestration, forest fire reduction, forest, wildlife habitat, drinking water, sustainable wood supply and support for rural communities. To learn more about the American Forest Foundation and the Family Forest Carbon Program, visit forestfoundation.org/carbon.

About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so nature and people can thrive together. We fight climate change, conserve land, water and oceans on an unprecedented scale, provide food and water sustainably, and help make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories: 37 through direct conservation impact and 39 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that involves local communities, governments, the private sector and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

American Forestry Foundation

American Forestry Foundation

The American Forest Foundation (AFF) is a national, nonprofit conservation organization that protects and measurably increases the clean water, wildlife habitat, and sustainable wood supply from family forests. AFF works with landowners, partners, leading companies and policy makers to address key issues such as conserving biodiversity, reducing the risk of catastrophic fires and tackling the threat of climate change . To learn more about the American Forest Foundation, visit www.forestfoundation.org.

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