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American Forest Foundation White Paper: Carbon Credits through Family Forests


September, 2020

As companies work to address their environmental footprint, voluntary carbon markets are seeing expansive growth as a viable strategy to offset emissions when needed. Yet, the U.S. carbon projects available for investment are limited – being almost exclusively developed on large or industrial forest properties of 5,000 acres or more. This is leaving out a substantial and charismatic demographic of forest owners that could partner with companies. 

In comparison, families and individuals own the largest portion of all forests in the U.S. These landowners collectively account for 36% of forestland, and represent 1 in 4 rural Americans. Ironically, only 1% of the acres in existing carbon projects are on acreages between 20 and 1,000 acres — the size range of the majority of these family properties. 

A new white paper from the American Forest Foundation, a national conservation organization, outlines the significant potential in family-owned forests for corporate carbon credits.

What the American Forest Foundation’s white paper details:

  • Who are family forest owners and what challenges do they face. 
  • How and why carbon markets are an effective mechanism to align the needs of small forest owners, and of corporations working to achieve their climate goals.
  • An example of an innovative forest carbon project designed specifically for family forest owners, the Family Forest Carbon Program, that is helping companies reduce their carbon footprint, while also supporting rural communities.

Download the white paper to view insights and opportunities.

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