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Appalachian Carbon Research Group To Host Forest Offsets Workshop, September 21

In the effort to reduce the impact of climate change one approach is to decrease greenhouse gases by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  This can be done by growing plants, especially long-lived plants like trees. On Friday, September 21, the Appalachian Carbon Research Group will host the second Forest Offsets Workshop focused on the future of carbon offsets for small-scale forest owners in the Southeastern United States.

The goal is to disseminate information and facilitate a discussion on the various obstacles facing carbon offset projects on small-scale forest parcels (<1000 acres). ACRG is particularly interested in engaging with and learning from private forest owners. This workshop will take place 9am – 4pm in the Plemmons Student Union (263 Locust Street, Boone, NC, 28608), and will involve project developers, carbon registry representatives, researchers, and forest landowners.

The Appalachian Carbon Research Group at ASU is a collaborative group of students, staff, and faculty, who have been studying carbon offset possibilities, and who are hosting the Workshop to enlarge the discussion and to involve actual forest owners and managers. The workshop is a free event, with lunch and refreshments provided. Space is limited so registration, which closes Sept. 14, is required. There will be an afternoon hands-on tutorial of the Climate Action Reserve’s Project Feasibility Tool and CARIT. In small groups, participants will be able to use and interact with the tools to assess project feasibility based on mock project scenarios and tree data.

A forest offset is a voluntary greenhouse gas reduction undertaken by a forest landowner.  This could be through forest conservation, reforestation, or improved forest management. Verified forest offsets can be sold in emerging carbon markets.

Dr. Tatyana Ruseva, a professor at Appalachian State University states, “A carbon offset is a tradable commodity representing one metric ton of carbon dioxide”. Forest owners across the US can voluntarily undertake these (forest management) activities as part of a forest offset project.  The project is registered with an approved carbon registry, such as the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), and earns offset credits that can be sold to parties that want to be able to show they have reduced their emissions of carbon dioxide. To be approved, projects must follow a set of standards, and the activities undertaken as part of the project must be periodically verified in order to make sure that credits are earned for actual carbon sequestration activities. Once activities are verified, landowners receive offset credits that they can then save, or sell on the carbon credit market.

Dr. Ruseva added, “One of the questions our research group has been looking into is why participation in forest carbon offset projects is so limited among small-scale forest owners, despite several years of experience with carbon markets. There are several salient questions for forest owners, such as how much money they are going to make from an offset project, how much they can get per tree, and how much they have to put into it over the life of the project – and we will discuss these issues during the workshop.  This is both an educational event for forest owners and a chance to discuss how the offset program might be improved. We know it can be costly for some to attend the workshop, so we are able to offer travel allowances to forest owners thanks to generous support from the North Carolina Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Oak Ridge Associated Universities.”

For more information about the event, please contact Riley Pudney at pudneyra@appstate.edu, or go to: https://appalachiancarbon.wixsite.com/theoffsetworkshop

The agenda for the event can be found here: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/c8b15b_9724150603704a25a85d12704f4b4389.pdf

The registration link is found below.

online registration form.