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Forest carbon offering for private landowners

Dec. 9, 2009, Harrisburg, PA – The Nature Conservancy has launched Working Woodlands, a U.S. model forest conservation program that aims to protect forests and fight climate change through an agreement with Blue Source to jointly develop market-based incentives that reward landowners who demonstrate exceptional forest management practices.


December 9, 2009
By The Nature Conservancy

Dec. 9, 2009, Harrisburg, PA – The Nature Conservancy has launched Working Woodlands,
a U.S. model forest conservation program that aims to protect forests and fight
climate change through an agreement with Blue Source to jointly develop
market-based incentives that reward landowners who demonstrate exceptional
forest management practices.

“Working Woodlands is a new model of conservation that puts the
growing market for carbon credits to work as a means to promote high-quality
forest conservation strategies on private lands,” says Dylan Jenkins, the
Pennsylvania director of forest conservation for The Nature Conservancy.”

Building on the Conservancy and Blue Source’s combined experience with land protection,
forest certification, and carbon finance, Working Woodlands uses an innovative
combination of long-term working forest conservation agreements, Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC) forest management certification, and carbon market
payments to make conservation a more attractive proposition for landowners. The
program is designed to eliminate out-of-pocket, up-front costs for landowners.
The Conservancy will provide services for FSC certification, and Blue Source
will provide financing for carbon credit development. The resulting offsets
will be added to Blue Source’s portfolio and subsequently marketed to companies
that have an interest in purchasing forest carbon credits as part of an effort
to manage their net greenhouse gas emissions.

“This alliance provides a means for landowners in the U.S. to embrace forest
conservation at no up-front cost and enables them to receive timber and carbon
revenues as a result of their commitment to improved environmental stewardship,”
says Blue Source vice president, Roger Williams. “We see this as an evolution
in land conservation and have structured this program to make it easy for
landowners to participate.”

“There are many forest carbon offsets in existence, but the Working Woodlands model offers very credible offsets because they
are tied to FSC certification,” says Luke Dillinger, wood procurement forester
at Domtar’s Johnsonburg paper mill, an FSC-certified facility and a major
market for Pennsylvania forest products. The program offers a unique,
market-based mechanism to allow forest landowners to manage for the long-term
health of the forest while maximizing the sustainable revenue stream off of
their properties, he says.

The program was developed in Pennsylvania, but is designed to spread to other
Appalachian states, says Jenkins. “Our hope is that over the next two to three
years, we’ll demonstrate the kind of success that will make others want to
adopt our model in their neck of the woods.”

How it Works

The Conservancy will offer Working Woodlands to landowners in Pennsylvania who have forests of
at least 250 acres where FSC certification would significantly advance the
conservation goals of long-term forest protection and sustainable forest
management.

Cooperating with private forest consultants, the Conservancy will
develop forest management plans that are certified under the FSC. These plans
will then be coupled with long-term management agreements to protect lands from
forest conversion or unsustainable management practices.

All forest products produced from Working Woodlands properties will be FSC certified, including
conventional solid wood for veneer and timber, as well as low-grade pulp and
woody biomass for paper and energy production.

Blue Source and the Conservancy will work to ensure that the long-term
management agreements are structured such that the resulting increase in forest
carbon sequestered on the land can be quantified, verified, and sold.

Blue Source will work with landowners to finance projects and to
market and sell carbon credits generated by long-term forest protection and the
improvement in forest conditions that result from FSC management, giving
landowners additional financial incentive to manage their forest in a
sustainable manner.


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