Is Forest Carbon a New Revenue Source?

Written by Chris Loomis, Forestry Consultant, Appraisal Dept.

The State of VT, Department of Forests, Parks and recreation has created an informational section within their Climate Adaptation and Management resources which deals specifically with Forest Carbon.  Forestland provides a significant carbon sink which helps to offset greenhouse gas emissions and is considered a natural solution to climate change.  The information on why forest carbon is important, including the forest carbon cycle and estimates of Vermont’s forest carbon stocks can be viewed at the following web address:
Additional information is available regarding the potential sale of forest carbon offsets into the marketplace.  This has implications for members interested in monetizing their forest carbon, providing they are willing to accept the long term commitments required to validate the sale of carbon from their forests.  This information is available here

Graphic by, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation
In the case that the carbon offset marketing projects are compatible with maple sugaring operations, they may provide the unique opportunity for annual returns from the forest from two distinct revenue streams – maple and carbon.   In general, carbon offsets are most efficiently developed on larger parcels, often 2,000 is the minimum.  New programs supporting the sale of developed carbon offsets are now beginning to emerge which aggregate lands owned by a single entity in order to achieve the necessary acreage / volume of offsets, as well as aggregating among a number of different owners willing to commit to a project together as a partnership style agreement.  Still other programs are beginning to make opportunities for small acreage available on a stand-alone basis. 
Members interested in learning more about monetizing the carbon stocks on their forest are encouraged to review the attached materials and reach out to the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation as well as the groups working to develop carbon offsets from Vermont forests.

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