To encourage private landowners to forgo aggressive timber harvesting, there must be a strong incentive to participate in the Working Woodlands.
Bluesource’s quantification and marketing expertise combined with TNC’s conservation easement payments allows landowners to receive full FSC certification and planning with no upfront costs, while also receiving income from FSC cert products and carbon revenues.
The partnership provides a path for landowners to participate in the carbon markets and manage their forests for sustainability. Without the program, many landowners may instead sell the properties in favor of timber revenues.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, more than half our nation’s forestlands are owned and managed by roughly 11 million private landowners. That is a lot of privately owned forestland that we all benefit from and preservation of these forests is an important piece of managing the impacts of climate change. For landowners, enrolling their forests in the carbon markets to manage them for sustainability can seem daunting and complicated. From navigating the process to high costs, there can be many barriers to the long-term preservation of these lands.
This is where Bluesource and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have partnered to deliver the Working Woodlands Program to private landowners with high conservation value forestlands across the country. The program uses funds generated by Improved Forest Management or Avoided Conversion forest carbon projects to finance easement protection, sustainable forest management planning, and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
TNC’s Forest Conservation Program is an FSC-Certified Resource Manager, allowing the Conservancy to provide FSC certification for private landowners. TNC foresters conduct rigorous forest inventories and develop FSC-certified management plans. Landowners then sign land management agreements or working forest conservation easements. All forest products are FSC-certified, and the landowner retains all timber sale revenues.
Bluesource handles the evaluation, development, and marketing of the carbon credits generated by the projects and oversees all carbon inventory, modeling, verification, registration, and marketing activities. Carbon revenues generated from the projects are distributed to the landowners and TNC, providing all parties with a new and recurring source of revenue. The program allows landowners to receive full FSC certification and planning with no upfront costs while receiving long-term revenue from both FSC-certified timber products and carbon credit sales. The benefits of this program to landowners include:
· No up-front out-of-pocket costs
· Full forest and carbon inventory
· 10-year FSC-certified forest management plan
· Professional assistance with plan implementation
· 100% of profits from sales of FSC-certified solid wood and wood biomass
· Additional income from the sale of high-quality carbon credits
To date, Bluesource and TNC have partnered on multiple Working Woodlands projects including:
· The Bethlehem Authority Project—located on 17,590 forested acres in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This is the largest private conservation partnership in Pennsylvania history.
· Lock Haven Forestry Project—an IFM project located in Clinton County, Pennsylvania comprising 5,000 acres. This project provides 40 years of protection for two valuable freshwater sources.
· Burnt Mountain Forestry Project—owned by TNC and located on 5,400~ acres of forest in Vermont. It is the largest carbon offset project in the state of Vermont.
· Hawk Mountain Forestry Project—a bird sanctuary for birds of prey, located on 2,500 acres in Drehersville, Pennsylvania.
· Shafer-Tuuk Forestry Project—A tree farm owned by the Tuuk Family, located on 3,124 acres in Sparta, Tennessee. The property is part of a highly-connected network of some of the largest remaining intact core blocks of forest in the East. It is rich in natural resources representative of the biodiversity of the area.