Written by Josh Fain, LandYield
Editors note: Josh Fain is a Guild member who has been working on forest carbon for years. He shared a project in the PNW in 2020 (Unlocking Carbon Markets for Family Forest Owners in the Pacific Northwest) and discusses a new program below.
Family forest owners collectively manage one-third of all forests in the United States. With such a significant footprint, these landowners hold immense potential for making meaningful strides in carbon reduction and addressing climate change. Studies have made clear the important role forests and climate smart forestry practices like extending harvest rotations have to play in capturing and storing carbon and mitigating the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate.
However, carbon markets have not been accessible to family forest owners in the past due to a number of factors, including the high cost of project development and monitoring, the low price of carbon, and the long-term contracts required for participation.
As our Position Statement on Forest Carbon Offset Credits highlights, “Forests have tremendous potential to mitigate climate change.” The Guild Position Statement also recognizes the complexity of carbon offset programs and notes that “only carbon offset credits that assure additionality and permanence, and can be independently verified as doing so, can facilitate achieving the full climate mitigation potential of well-managed forests.”
Introducing the LandYield carbon program
LandYield is a new program that is changing the landscape of the carbon market by making it accessible to family forest owners with between 40 and 5,000 acres. By utilizing the latest in high-resolution satellite imagery combined with ground data from the U.S. Forest Service to streamline and accelerate the mapping and monitoring of forest carbon, LandYield effectively eliminates the previously prohibitive costs of participation for landowners while issuing high-integrity offsets by adhering to rigorous American Carbon Registry standards.
LandYield’s program also offers a number of other benefits to family forest owners, including:
- Flexible participation: Landowners can choose to enroll only the acres they want and have the flexibility to continue using their land for other purposes, such as recreation and hunting.
- Guaranteed revenue: Landowners receive quarterly payments for up to 20 years for the carbon their forests sequester.
- Expert support: LandYield’s team of forestry and carbon experts manages all monitoring and reporting requirements, so landowners can focus on enjoying their forests.
Benefits of Carbon Projects for Family Forest Owners
Family forest owners express values that make them particularly well-suited for carbon projects. They often prioritize preserving recreational opportunities, wildlife habitats, the beauty of the land and family legacy when making forest management decisions. In addition to the financial benefits of participating in a carbon program, there are several other environmental benefits for family forest owners, including improved biodiversity, water and soil quality, and the improved aesthetics of an older forest. Revenue from carbon programs like LandYield can also help alleviate pressure on family forest owners to sell or develop their land, helping ensure their environmental legacy for future generations.
How to Get Involved
If you are interested in learning more about carbon programs, there are a few things you can do:
- Visit the LandYield website (https://landyield.com/) to learn more about the program, get a free revenue estimate and contact the team with any questions.
- Visit Penn State Extension Forest Owner Carbon and Climate Education website for a list of resources: FOCCE | Resources (psu.edu)
- Use the resources available on the Forest Stewards Guild website and look out for upcoming webinars about forest carbon programs: https://foreststewardsguild.org/?s=carbon
In the crucial years ahead, carbon-smart forest management can make a substantial difference for our climate and communities.