||As a Southeastern highlands land trust, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
(SAHC) is interested in participating in an emerging forest carbon market as an examination
of new conservation strategies. They are eager to learn how improved forest management
efforts can result in more carbon sequestration, and how their landowners could benefit
financially from participation. In this project, SAHC’s available carbon market registries
and programs (CAR, ACR, and Dogwood Alliance’s Carbon Canopy) are compared, including
eligibility, participation requirements, administrative costs, risks, and potential
revenues. The comparison was performed through policy analysis and the use of Forest
Creditable Offset and Sequestration tool to estimate the potential costs and benefits
of developing a project on a parcel of forest for which SAHC holds the conservation
easement. Based on the comparison, SAHC would be more confident in helping landowners
to make the decision whether and how to register their forest in a carbon market.
The results show that, for an extended rotation project, one with larger size and
longer harvest interval will accumulate more carbon credits. Moreover, other factors
over which land owners don’t have control will also affect the project value, such
as carbon and timber price. For small land owners, it is beneficial to register more
than one parcel under through an aggregate project because production cost is the
main cost, and aggregate projects have lower average production costs for each parcel.
Based on our analysis, SAHC prefers to cooperate with Dogwood Alliance in future forest
carbon project development.