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Application of the Climate Action Reserve's Forest Project Protocol to a Longleaf Pine Forest under Restoration Management

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The Climate Action Reserve's Forest Project Protocol Version 3.2 is the current basis for the participation of US-based forest carbon projects in California's cap-and-trade system, yet is largely untested in forests beyond California, particularly those of the southeastern US Coastal Plain. Applying the Protocol to a hypothetical project on a longleaf pine site managed primarily for ecological restoration produced on-site gains of 0.3 mt CO2/ac/yr, but net emissions of 0.8 mt CO2/ac/yr over the project lifetime. These results are based on site-specific conditions (e.g., low stand density) and certain elements of the Protocol (e.g., heavy influence of off-site stocks), highlighting the potential conflict between managing for both climate benefits and ecological restoration on some lands. We recommend that forest owners conduct preliminary analyses to determine whether implementing a carbon project on their forestlands would likely produce their desired results. We further recommend modifications to the Protocol to improve its utility.

Keywords: carbon offsets; carbon sequestration; forest carbon accounting; forest management; longleaf pine

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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