Unlocking Your Forest’s Potential Through the Family Forest Carbon Program

Photo of a man cutting a tree with a chainsaw.

Family Forest Carbon Program offers enrolled landowners access to professional forestry services tailored to their goals and property. Photo by Melissa Farlow.

Written by Adrienne Egolf of The Nature Conservancy 

Landowner Eli Enman has always been committed to the long-term stewardship of his family’s forest, a ski resort called Sleepy Hollow. When he thinks of his 800-acre property, he thinks about the skiers and hikers exploring the trails, the animals roaming in every corner of the forest, the local logger harvesting firewood, and the future generations he hopes to pass the land down to.  

“Personally, our whole family is really cognizant of global warming and the natural environment and doing our part to protect it,” he says. “We were wanting to do what we can, and enrolling our land in the Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP) allows us to contribute to climate change solutions by helping us store more carbon on our property.” 

Diameter breast height measurement of a small tree

FFCP uses dynamic baselines to ensure there is real climate benefit from the program. Photo by Drew Kelly.

Developed in 2020 by two long-standing nonprofits, the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, the Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP) enables family forest owners like Eli to earn income from their land by helping them participate in carbon markets. In addition to an annual income stream, the program provides professional guidance from a forester and a forest management plan that results in a healthier, more resilient, and more valuable forest. 

FFCP is unique because it’s the first program of its kind to employ a groundbreaking carbon accounting methodology called dynamic baselines. The amount of carbon sequestered on lands enrolled in the FFCP is compared to very similar “control” forests not enrolled in the program. By measuring the difference between the forests in real time, the methodology can pinpoint FFCP as the sole variable contributing to the extra carbon benefit. This provides increased accuracy and credibility to the marketplace—and ensures landowners can feel confident about how their forests are contributing to climate solutions.  

Across the country, nearly 40% of forests are owned by families or individuals, on properties with an average size of just 67 acres. These family forest owners are a critical piece of the puzzle in maintaining and improving carbon sequestration and storage in our nation’s forests. That is why the program is specifically designed for non-industrial private forest landowners.  

Sleepy Hollow Inn, Ski, and Bike Center in Vermont

At the Sleepy Hollow Inn, Ski and Bike Center in Vermont, 712.25 acres are enrolled in the FFCP, providing revenue to the landowner and climate benefit to the atmosphere. Photo by John Tully.

Landowner Benefits 

Enrolling in the Family Forest Carbon Program comes with a range of benefits for forest landowners: 

  • Access to professional foresters for expert assistance for managing your forest (or the opportunity to continue working with your trusted consulting forester). 
  • A customized forest management plan tailored to your goals and your property. 
  • Guaranteed annual payments to help you reach your goals. 
  • Practical resources to assist future generations in carrying on your legacy of good forest stewardship. 
  • An opportunity to join a community of like-minded landowners. 

If you or someone you know owns 30+ acres of woodland and could benefit from the guaranteed annual income, forest management plan, and forestry expertise provided by the Family Forest Carbon Program, please see https://www.familyforestcarbon.org/