Northern Forest Branded Carbon Credits

Evaluating Supply and Demand of Northern Forest Branded Carbon Credits

Project Goal

This multidisciplinary research project will integrate methodologies from the natural and social sciences to inform landowners, forestry professional, and other decision-makers on both the supply and demand side issues related to forest-based carbon offsets generated in the Northeast.  On the supply side, we will apply the Northeast Ecosystem Management Decision Model and the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Vegetation Simulator to analyze carbon storage on 30 forest properties across four Northeastern states, under nine different management scenarios.   Based on this data, we will create a GIS-based decision tool that will enable landowners in the Northeast determine the carbon storage potential and net return from carbon offsets sales for their property.

To address questions on the demand side of the equation, we will survey potential purchasers and intermediaries and quantitatively assess their interest in forest-based carbon offsets from the Northeast as well as their preference for a regionally branded product.  Based on this analysis, we will create a profile of potential buyers and identify the brand attributes that they value.   Finally, we will integrate the supply and demand side issues by creating a map of the value chain through the qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews and the use of a market mapping tool.
Collectively, the products developed in this project will provide scientific guidance to Northern Forest landowners, communities, and businesses interested in using voluntary carbon markets to balance their ecological, social, economic, and challenges.

Why it Matters

Voluntary carbon markets have the potential to dramatically enhance the long-term sustainability of working forests and rural communities in the Northeast. These markets, which provide payment to landowners for securing carbon dioxide through reforestation, improved forest management, and avoided conversion of forestland, offer a financially viable alternative to subdivision, real-estate development, and overharvesting.  Forest landowners in the Northeast, however, have little scientific and practical guidance on generating and successfully selling forest based carbon offsets.

Project Team

  • University of Vermont
  • Agrefresh
  • Conservation Collaboratives
  • Redstart Forestry

Funder

The Northeastern States Research Cooperative