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October 6 Appalachian State University Forest Offsets Workshop

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 October 6, Appalachian State University will host the ASU Forest Offsets Workshop to discuss how this might be encouraged and implemented on a large scale in the Appalachian region. This workshop will take place from 9 to 4 in the Plemmons Student Union (263 Locust Street, Boone, NC, 28608), and will involve forest researchers, project developers, and forest landowners.

The Carbon Offset Cluster 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 managers. The workshop is a free event, with lunch and refreshments provided. Space is limited so registration, which closes Sept. 25, is required. There will be an open discussion to understand the challenges, rules, and various obstacles facing carbon offset projects in the region.

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 tradeable 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 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. One such market was created through California’s climate change legislation.”

Kayla Young, a graduate student at Appalachian State University and member of the Carbon Offset Cluster, mentions that she is looking forward to hearing the dialog from landowners. She mentioned, “Feedback will help make this a more viable opportunity to mitigate climate change, and it could give foresters an extra income.”

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, despite several years of experience with carbon markets. This trend is particularly noticeable among private forest owners, who face challenges to participation. 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 make the event registration-free and to offer travel allowances to forest owners thanks to generous support from the Clabough Foundation and Appalachian’s Research Institute for Energy, Environment, and Economics (RIEEE).”

For more information about the event, please contact Kayla Young at [email protected].


The registration link is found below: