This year we have a renewed focus and energy toward climate issues and our role in addressing them. With that we are beginning a new Forest Carbon Bulletin service with our Florida Land Steward Program blog to help private landowners and our forestry and natural resource partners navigate the emerging world of forest carbon initiatives, programs, and opportunities.
Forests are at the Table
The old saying, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the table” resonates with this issue. Within the realm of climate change mitigation, forests are playing a critical role. Some of the most effective solutions to addressing our climate challenges lie in our existing land and forest resources. Forests sequester carbon from the atmosphere and have the potential to store additional carbon through sustainable forest management. As forest landowners, foresters, land managers, and natural resource professionals, we need to be at the table.
In Florida and the Southeastern U.S., the greatest opportunity to harness carbon sequestration and storage opportunities is through private individual and family forest owners, who own a significant portion of all forests in this region. The good news is the values and interests of these forest owners and managers align well with a healthy environment and climate. To put it plainly – we care about the land and its future.
Many landowners struggle with the cost of forest management and conservation. Adding to this, a huge portion of family forest owners, those owning between 20 and 500 acres parcels, have thus far been left out of carbon markets. Carbon markets are opportunities for forest landowners to get paid for the carbon sequestration service that their forest provides. This is changing now, and it’s changing fast.
Case in point – as I write this bulletin I am watching a webinar about a new forest carbon market opportunity for family forest landowners that is rolling out right now across this region. In the coming months and years we’ll be seeing and hearing about new forest carbon and natural capital trading platforms, and associated opportunities for private forest landowners to participate in the business of sequestering carbon.
The purpose of this regular bulletin is to help you navigate this new carbon market landscape. What does all the terminology mean? Who are the players? What are the opportunities and benefits? Are there risks? How do these opportunities relate to what I care about and do on my land? How can I engage?
We encourage you to engage in this forum and get a seat at the table.
The recording of our May 6 Forest Carbon Webinar with SilviaTerra is now available at this link. Slides, materials, links and recordings from all FLS webinars are available here.