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Individual Highlight

Landowners Interested in Managing Family Forest Lands for Carbon

Photo of Afforestation is one means of increasing carbon storage on family forest lands. Stephanie Snyder, USDA Forest ServiceAfforestation is one means of increasing carbon storage on family forest lands. Stephanie Snyder, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : The nation's family forest lands have the potential to be an important contributor to carbon sequestration efforts, but only if their owners are willing to manage to enhance carbon sequestration. Yet little is known about whether family forest owners are even interested in doing this or how they view programs that enable them to sell forest carbon credits. Forest Service scientists surveyed family forest owners in the Upper Midwest and found that many forest owners may be more interested in simply managing for carbon than meeting the conditions required to formally sell carbon credits.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Snyder, Stephanie 
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 503


Forest Service scientists, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, investigated family forest landowner interest in participating in voluntary carbon market trading programs and in managing their lands to sequester additional carbon. They used a mail survey sent to family forest owners in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to assess their interest in participating in a hypothetical carbon credit trading program and sought information on landowners' objectives and practices and attitudes towards carbon sequestration and credit programs. They found that Lake States family forest owners are unfamiliar with forest carbon management, credits, and markets, yet curious. Additionally, the analysis suggests that, in general, landowners are more likely to be interested in selling carbon credits when payment amounts are high and contract lengths are short, which may be at odds with the need for longer participation to ensure the quality carbon offsets. Some may place a high value on the co-benefits that can accrue from carbon sequestration efforts (e.g., improved water and soil quality, wildlife habitat, and aesthetic values) and believe that climate change is a problem of environmental concern that forests can help address.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Kristell Miller & Michael Kilgore, University of Minnesota, St. Paul

Program Areas