In select regions of North Carolina, rising commodity prices and agricultural land values have exerted considerable pressure for land owners to convert their forest holdings to row-crop agriculture. In order to prevent such conversion and to find viable alternative revenue streams, the owners of five forested properties in the region joined with Bluesource to protect nearly 5,000 acres of native pine and bottomland hardwood forests. Conservation easement values, coupled with projected revenues from carbon offset sales, motivated these landowners to embark on Avoided Conversion projects, thereby maintaining these lands as forests in perpetuity.
These five projects: Alligator River, Pungo River, Pocosin Lakes, Noles Farm North and Noles Farm South, have collectively generated nearly one million tonnes of carbon offsets since 2010, and will continue to produce credits for years to come. Originally registered under the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), over 400,000 of these tonnes have since been transitioned to the California ARB program and sold to major compliance buyers. Other credits have remained in the CAR program and been used to help voluntary buyers reach their sustainability goals.
In addition to preventing the release of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon stored in trees and soil, the projects deliver significant additional environmental benefits. These benefits, including reduced runoff of agricultural nutrients into waterways and estuaries, as well as protection of habitat adjacent to a national wildlife refuge harboring important populations of bear, waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, alligators, otters, wolves, woodpeckers and migratory birds.