Van Eck Forest Laboratories - Pacific Forest Trust

The van Eck Forests

The Van Eck forests are living forest laboratories that demonstrate how natural forest management restores biological diversity, protects watersheds, creates measurable and impactful climate change solutions, and yields competitive economic returns, fine wood, and dependable jobs.

Fred M. van Eck believed in the synergy of optimizing economic and ecologic returns. An investment manager by trade, he also loved birds and other wildlife. Looking for ways to increase sustained returns from forestry and to promote native bird habitat, he elected to work with us to conserve and manage his forested land in California and Oregon. Following his instructions, in 2002, we were granted conservation easements and management responsibilities for these forests with the goal of demonstrating how landowners could, in fact, manage for both sets of returns, setting standards of excellence and innovation in forest management.

Today, the Van Eck properties are 9,400 acres of conserved, well-managed, highly productive forest. Managed under working forest conservation easements designed to restore and sustain old growth forest functions while producing sustainably harvested wood, we test out new forest management techniques and policy tools to enhance wildlife habitat, protect water supplies, and increase the forests’ capacity to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. This work provides economic incentives and operational certainties for the landowners.

While the forests differ substantially in type and condition, both are being managed to restore more natural qualities, marketing both a variety of traditional and new forest products, from large dimension saw timber, pulp, and other materials, to the first regulatory compliance carbon offsets, to new tools for meeting Endangered Species Act goals. This management is yielding net increases in timber production as compared to standard even age forest management in addition to restored habitat condition. We have also seen an economic return from the conservation of these forests and the sale of carbon offsets, contributing to the operational certainty for the properties and supplementing the traditional returns on the sale of timber products.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is in all of our best interests. Having the Pacific Forest Trust manage our forests for their climate benefits, as well as for sustainable timber harvest, is therefore something we’re proud to be doing.”

– Derek Van Eck, Chair, Van Eck Forest Foundation

The Van Eck Forest Project, developed on the California van Eck Forest, was the first emissions reductions project registered and independently certified under rigorous accounting standards adopted by the state of California to help meet its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Why Conserve this Property?

It Benefits Natural Water Systems

The van Eck Forests in Oregon protect more than 20 miles of fish-bearing streams, improving the quality of these waterways and providing habitat for aquatic species. These waterways include active Coho and chum salmon runs—supporting 7 species of salmon and sturgeon—and have conditions ideal for salmon spawning.

Why Conserve This Property?

It Mitigates Climate Change

The California van Eck Forest Project, occupying 2,200 acres, is expected to reduce more than 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions over a 100-year period. Sales of these emissions reductions under California’s compliance offset market provide significant and complementary economic return to that from annual timber harvests, balancing out the sometimes-volatile timber market.

Why Conserve This Property?

It Supports the Local Economy

Through our careful stewardship, the Van Eck properties are economically self-sustaining. Annual harvests exceed 2,000,000 board feet in addition to chip and saw, as well as other timber products. The van Eck Forest Foundation supports forest research and scholarships at Purdue University with the revenue generated from the properties.

Why Conserve This Property?

It Saves Wildlife Habitat

Our management has lead to the return of Northern spotted owls, with both a male and female owl observed on the California property. Because the conservation easement and our continued stewardship restores and protects spotted owl habitat, the U.S. Forest Service worked us to develop a streamlined Safe Harbor Agreement underpinned on the easement.

Two Forests with Tremendous Benefits

Both van Eck properties are economically self-sustaining, with revenues covering all operating expenses while returning income to the landowner to support research and graduate scholarships at Purdue University. The properties also provide local, sustainable employment for loggers, truck drivers, mill workers, timber cruisers, biologists and foresters, among others.

van Eck – California

The van Eck California Forest is 2,200 acres of working redwood forest in Humboldt County, California.

Ecological Benefits:
  • Restores native redwood ecosystem
  • Protects habitat, in particular for species dependent upon older growth forests such as the Northern Spotted Owl
  • Enhances the forest landscape’s ability to absorb and store atmospheric carbon
  • Verified and registered emissions reductions generated by the project represent the equivalent of taking 123,000 cars off the road for a year.
Economic Returns:
  • The property earned $2M for the sale of 185,00 metric tons of registered emissions reductions (2005-2009)
  • The property provides high-quality timber, yielding $3M from sustainable timber harvests (2005-2009)

van Eck – Oregon

The van Eck Oregon Forest is 7,200 acres of Douglas fir and Western hemlock forest in Lincoln County, Oregon.

Ecological Benefits Include:
  • Protects watershed quality
  • Protects significant open space
  • Protects habitat, in particular for species dependent upon older growth forests such as the Northern spotted owl
  • Protects more than 20 miles of fish-bearing streams including salmon spawning beds
  • Enhances the forest landscape’s ability to store atmospheric carbon
Economic Returns:
  • Timber income alone over the next 30 years is expected to generate an internal rate of return between 5–8%
  • Over the next 40 years, standing timber volume is expected to increase threefold, generating 95M board feet of timber

Who Lives There?

Many species call the van Eck forests and the surrounding landscapes home. Learn more about the species in these areas.

This Project Conserves Diverse Habitats

Explore a few of Van Eck’s conserved habitats, home to threatened and endangered species including the Northern spotted owl. Through our work, the Van Eck forests are now being managed for habitat diversity, restoring these forests to a more natural state.

Conservation Project Partners

Thanks to our partners for collaborating to ensure the natural values of this land are conserved for future generations!

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