Exploring Carbon Sequestration
Whatcom Land Trust is exploring the potential benefits of carbon offset credits to fund healthy forest management, increasing carbon sequestration in Whatcom County. Learn more about our process below.
Why did WLT provide a proposal to the American Carbon Registry?
We are following the model from other land trusts. There is a cost for land trusts to manage forests for increased carbon sequestration. We aren’t a commercial forestry operation, and need revenue in order to manage forests.
Carbon offsets and the carbon market can provide resources for land trusts to restore large commercial forest landscapes, and support the ongoing cost of stewardship and restoration that a land trust is responsible for.
Will WLT have a viable carbon sequestration project?
Whatcom Land Trust would only take on a carbon sequestration project that supports our mission, improves the forest ecosystem and sequesters more carbon than it would otherwise.
The offset is the difference between forests that would otherwise continue to be logged aggressively (every 40-50 yrs) and a forest managed for the ecology, the watershed, with animals and people in mind.
The carbon accreditation company does the analysis of how much carbon would be sequestered through tree growth under new forest management practices.
Where will the money earned from carbon offsets go?
The funds would go to stewardship of large tracts of forestland that WLT has acquired from timber companies. These lands have been repeatedly logged, and need active management to rebuild healthy forests capable of sequestering an increased amount of carbon.
What are the benefits for Whatcom County lands?
Offsets will generate stewardship funds to manage healthy forests in Whatcom County.
Rebuilding healthy forests on properties that have been commercially owned and logged results in increased carbon sequestration, along with secondary benefits of watershed health and critical habitat restoration.
By permanently protecting forests, and increasing carbon sequestration, Whatcom Land Trust is working diligently to increase climate resiliency. In partnership with local governments, tribal leaders, businesses, and individuals, we are all working towards a local solution to the global issue of climate change.
What properties could be included in the carbon sequestration project?
Commercial forest properties that WLT purchased from timber companies that have been (and would have continued to be) logged extensively would be included in calculation of carbon sequestered. The properties that would be included are: Skookum Creek (2,130 acres), Stewart Mountain (550 acres), and other large forested properties that are zoned for commercial use and previously owned by timber companies.
If you are able to offer carbon offsets, who would be able to use them?
Once we know the value of the credits, WLT would retain 100% autonomy in determining the companies that can buy the credits.
What is involved in a carbon sequestration calculation?
The amount of carbon credited is the difference between what is there now, and what would exist after the forest management plan WLT would put into place.
The calculation is based on Cap and Trade rigorous policy, and is based on the age of the trees and number of acres. Then they will compare amount of carbon sequestered under different forest management scenarios: no action, or commercial forestry, or thinning and stewardship practices.
Assessment is conducted on a property by property basis, and the delta (amount of increased carbon sequestered compared to the baseline) for the management scenario is added together for all the properties.
Are there any similar carbon offset projects happening in Washington?
Nisqually Land Trust sold carbon credits for a 520-acre property to Microsoft. This sale provided resources to steward a forest that had been degraded overtime through commercial harvesting. The sale will also allow Nisqually Land Trust to conduct wetland and salmon habitat restoration, benefitting watershed health and salmon populations.
We welcome your feedback as we explore carbon offsets! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments, questions or concerns.