Landowners Monetize Timber for Carbon Credits with Improved Forest Management Plan


For most of recorded history, the value of trees has been quantified monetarily in terms of what you can get for them at the mill, or their worth off-the-stump. With the emergence of both the voluntary and compliance carbon markets, trees now have a new monetary value measured by how much carbon they sequester. In particular, the recent Cap-and-Trade legislation of carbon in California has created a market where large landowners throughout North America can generate additional income from their trees, and do so without cutting them down.

Landowners with more than 1,000 acres of mature hardwoods can take part in an Improved Forest Management Plan to generate carbon credits on either market while others may reforest marginal agriculture or pasture land and generate credits as well. Improved Forest Management Plans can be an ideal source of income for landowners who have had a light touch on their timber, and are particularly well suited to hunting clubs and folks who would like to see their timber standing for aesthetic or other purposes.

Some FAQs when it comes to carbon sequestering…

What if my property is under easement? This is generally not a problem. Carbon projects can provide another income stream for properties that are currently under easement and are a great way to offset expenses like taxes or other land expenses.

Can I still cut my timber? This question arises in most every conversation regarding carbon sequestering projects. The answer is yes. Just because you are monetizing timber for carbon credits doesn’t mean there aren’t still options for harvesting some trees and generating multiple and varied sources of income on your property while at the same time creating early successional habitat that is so important for deer, birds, and almost all species of wildlife.

This article was written by Tee Clarkson, who works in land preservation and carbon sequestering at Atoka Conservation Exchange, LLC.