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Foresters' Perceptions of Family Forest Owner Willingness to Participate in Forest Carbon Markets

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Payment for forest-based carbon sequestration may be an emerging opportunity to help mitigate climate change while creating new income streams for forest landowners. It is important to understand families' willingness to participate in emerging carbon markets, as they own 35% of the nation's forestlands. Most family forest owners have not enrolled in forest stewardship programs, suggesting that it may be difficult for them to participate in emerging carbon offset markets. The pilot study reported in this article sought to understand family forest owner willingness to participate in carbon sequestration projects by asking professional foresters who are members of the Forest Guild what they believed would influence family forest owner willingness to participate in sequestration projects and how projects could be designed to foster participation. These foresters identified profitability, compliance difficulties, immaturity of carbon markets, property rights infringements, moral objections to carbon markets, and forester hesitation in recommending participation as the principal barriers to participation. They suggested that barriers could be overcome by increasing profitability, creating low cost and low hassle compliance systems, addressing landowner property rights concerns, and implementing education campaigns aimed at increasing forester knowledge of carbon markets and sequestration projects.
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Keywords: Forest Guild; carbon offset markets; climate change; family forest landowners; foresters

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2011

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