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Potential Land Use and Forest Management Implications for a Carbon-offset Incentive Program

Photo of Managed forest land in western Oregon. A carbon offset sales program could encourage forest landowners to manage in ways that increase the amount carbon stored on their land. Jeff Kline, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Managed forest land in western Oregon. A carbon offset sales program could encourage forest landowners to manage in ways that increase the amount carbon stored on their land. Jeff Kline, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : A new Forest Service study describes the potential implications for land use and management if a program where a forest owner could sell carbon offsets to industrial fossil fuel users were established in western Oregon, a region with significant potential to store additional forest carbon. The analysis characterizes the potential influence of a forest carbon offset program on forest land retention, management, and stored carbon levels.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Kline, Jeffrey D. 
Research Location : Oregon
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 945

Summary

Policymakers and the public have emphasized the need for carbon emission mitigation programs to address climate change. Carbon markets and offsets have received significant attention as a potential mitigation solution. Carbon markets would establish and sell tradable emission permits, allowing industrial fossil fuel users to emit a set amount of carbon dioxide. A forest carbon offset program would enable forest landowners to sell carbon emission permits in return for altering their forest area or its management in ways to sequester and store additional carbon. The sale of carbon offset would also provide financial incentives to owners to retain their land in forest rather than convert it to non-forest or developed uses with attendant losses of ecosystem services. The extent to which forest carbon offset sales programs would actually slow loss of forest land has been largely unknown, and depends on the array of development opportunities available and the degree to which private landowners would respond to an offset sales program.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Oregon State University
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency