Carbon Canopy Vision Nears Reality

At the spring meeting of the Carbon Canopy, Dogwood Alliance’s forest carbon project, members and funders got out onto the land to “kick the tires” on the first two carbon sequestration sites, and companies came on-board to purchase carbon offsets. These first two sites, coming to market early next year, will provide important new revenue for landowners.

More than 20 people attended the meeting on May 20-21 hosted by Domtar at its Kingsport Mill in northwestern Tennessee, including representatives from Dogwood Alliance, Staples, Forestland Group, Domtar, Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewards, the National Woodland Owners Association, the Nature Conservancy and two area funding partners.

Participants had the chance to personally explore the Pine Mountain Project, including 1,400 acres near Pound, Virginia and the Forestland Group’s Highlands property, covering 130,000 acres near Dante, Virginia.

After their field trip, Carbon Canopy members reviewed the steps that will have the carbon offsets from both sites ready to come to market early in 2013. “Preparing a carbon project is an enormous amount of work,” says Andrew Goldberg, Director of Corporate Engagement at Dogwood Alliance. “For example, we’ve created a plot survey grid that provides statistically valid data on every living stem over 5 inches wide on the entire property. We use that to model the yield of the property in terms of growth and carbon sequestration — and we must ensure that everything we do adheres to strict protocols created by the California Air Resources Board.”

The group also approved a five-year strategic plan that outlines expected growth and management activities.

With the sites almost prepped and with corporate partners stepping up to purchase the carbon offsets generated by these properties, the vision of the Carbon Canopy — to protect valuable forests while using them to produce income for landowners — is near reality.

Craig Kaderavek from Forestland Group noted the importance of recognizing carbon sequestration as a new way to add value to some of the millions of acres owned by the company. “This land has value that’s more than timber. Being able to generate income through carbon sequestration will make it more attractive to buy, hold and responsibly manage more land,” he said.

“It was invigorating to actually stand on two places that will be protected for the long haul from degradation, yet will be a contributing part of their local economies,” added Goldberg. “It is a win for the landowner, the forest products industry and for everyone in the region.”

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