The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is the congressionally-chartered nonprofit partner of the Forest Service. The NFF addresses key challenges to the health of our national forests and grasslands. Together, the NFF and the Forest Service work on solutions in community-based forestry, recreation, watershed restoration, and wildlife habitat.
Carbon sequestration is the process by which atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in biomass (trunks, branches, foliage, and roots) and soils. Carbon sequestration in forests and wood products helps offset fossil fuel emissions, one of the key drivers of human-induced climate change. For more information about forest carbon sequestration, visit our carbon page.
The Carbon Capital Fund was established by the National Forest Foundation to provide conservation donors a way to offset their personal emissions. Contributions are used for reforestation projects on national forests. These projects result in a measured, independently verified, and registered carbon benefit.
The NFF carbon calculator is a user-friendly tool designed to help NFF’s conservation donors estimate their personal carbon footprint. There are several such carbon calculators available to the public on the Internet; some are more accurate, others more complex. The calculator is a simple reference for people as they consider how much to invest in reforestation and enhance the carbon benefits provided by national forests – any calculator can be used, or none at all. The calculator also serves as an educational tool, helping people identify their most carbon-intensive activities. NFF’s website offers a list of actions anyone can take to reduce emissions caused by their daily activities.
The global carbon market involves the purchase and trading of carbon dioxide units or "credits" derived from qualified emission reduction projects or from emission allowances allocated under a regulatory cap. Unlike carbon credits, carbon offsets offered through the NFF Carbon Capital Fund have not been accredited through standards specific to a formal program (such as the Chicago Climate Exchange or the European Union Emission Trading Scheme). Carbon Capital Fund offsets do not enter a marketplace and are not subject to future trades or other transactions.
No, the National Forest Foundation, through the Carbon Capital Fund, is offering carbon offsets on specific projects that meet strict rules of additionality.
Additionality refers to the carbon benefit realized from a project that would not have happened in absence of the project.
The National Forest Foundation is working with Winrock International - an independent expert in forest carbon measurement - to ensure strict quality standards for all projects. Carbon Capital Fund projects will pass two additionality tests: Financial additionality refers to the fact that the project would not have happened without financial support from the Carbon Capital Fund; biological additionality refers to the fact that the project sequesters carbon beyond a “business as usual” baseline. Biological additionality will be measured for the Carbon Capital Fund projects; projects will be registered in the 1605(b) voluntary greenhouse gas registry.
No, these projects do not meet the financial additionality criteria. Projects funded by congressional appropriations or other donations do not qualify as carbon offsets. Only projects that are directly funded through the Carbon Capital Fund meet the financial additionality requirement.
No, the Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation see the role of third-party verification as a critical component to Carbon Capital Fund offset projects. Winrock International, a leading expert in carbon measurement and ecosystem assessment, has agreed to evaluate each project and verify all qualifying carbon benefits.
Contributions to the NFF Carbon Capital Fund don't result in a transfer of rights or ownership of the trees. Those who participate in the program and offset their personal emissions are helping to increase the carbon benefit of national forests, which is a public good.
Any business can contribute to the Carbon Capital Fund. Because NFF’s carbon calculator is a simplified tool designed for personal emissions, companies and organizations will require an alternate means of estimating their corporate carbon footprint. All projects will be designed to generate quality forest carbon offsets, meaning that they result in a true net carbon benefit to the environment as well as other social, environmental, and economic co-benefits. Winrock International, a non-profit organization that specializes in forest carbon measurement and monitoring, will evaluate each project and verify the carbon benefit. It is the company’s responsibility to determine whether or not the offsets can be used to achieve carbon neutrality.
Carbon Capital Fund projects provide a host of other environmental benefits that contribute to human health and well-being. In addition to sequestering carbon, these projects will greatly enhance other ecosystem services like water and air quality, wildlife habitat, and recreational experiences on national forests.
Yes, all Carbon Capital Fund projects will be consistent with forest plans and will comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Updated: October 7, 2016 9:52 AM