ForestLife

Summer 2017 ForestLife

Forest Offsets Sequester 44 Million Tons of Carbon Dioxide

Carbon offsets are a key part of California’s program to combat climate change. Offsets allow companies to compensate for their carbon dioxide pollution by paying for a project that helps take CO2 out of the air or otherwise reduces greenhouse gases—and one of the best ways to do that is by investing in forests. California has set high standards for projects to be eligible for offsets, and all forest projects undergo a rigorous process of verification. There are more forest carbon offset projects than any other type.

Since the program began in 2013, 168 forest projects in 29 states have sequestered more than 44 million tons of carbon dioxide (figures as of June 2017).  The vast majority of these are “Improved Forest Management” projects. Others focus on reforestation or prevent the conversion of forests to other uses.

Forest offsets have not only reduced emissions, they’ve also provided cleaner water and strengthened rural economies. For example, a 21,000-acre project in Humboldt County is helping the Yurok tribe acquire more of their ancestral lands, restore the mixed conifer-hardwood forest for carbon gains,  improved habitat for wildlife, and better water quality for people and salmon. Another project on over 600,000 acres of Oregon forest owned by Green Diamond is supporting restoration of depleted timberlands, vital to that rural economy.

Van Eck forest in California, the first early action carbon offset project under California's program

Van Eck Forest in California (pictured left) was the first early action forest carbon offset project under California’s offset program. Now transitioned to a regulatory compliance offset project, the 2,200 acres are managed by Pacific Forest Trust in keeping with the legacy of Fred M. van Eck who believed in the synergy of economic and ecological benefits.