Extending Forest Rotation Age for Carbon Sequestration: A Cross-Protocol Comparison of Carbon Offsets of North American Forests
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As the issue of climate change rises in prominence, growing attention is being paid to the ability of forests to mitigate rising atmospheric concentrations of CO2. Through carbon offset programs, forest owners can be offered financial incentives to enhance the uptake and storage of carbon on their lands. This project presents a modeling framework within which the creditable carbon potential can be quantified from extending the rotation age of multiple forest stands. The differences in creditable carbon potential from rotation extensions across several North American forest types are explored. Additionally, the model enables the comparison of project creditable carbon amongst three accounting methodologies: the Department of Energy 1605b Registry, the Chicago Climate Exchange Protocol, and the Voluntary Carbon Standard Protocol. There are important methodological differences between these carbon accounting schemes which have implications to both forest owners and policymakers alike. It is shown here that the inclusion of methodologies to account for such issues as leakage, permanence, additionality and baseline-establishment, while increasing the overall legitimacy of any forest carbon offset program, can reduce creditable carbon to the forest owner by up to 70%. Regardless of the protocol used, Pacific Northwest forest types emerge as the most effective at sequestering carbon on a per area basis.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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