GMF Works Toward the Future with Carbon Offsets
As in nature, diversity creates strength. Diversifying our forest products contributes to the longevity of GMF as a critical natural resource that engages in cutting-edge environmental research and informative and stimulating educational programming. It also serves as a site for visitors to intimately and respectfully engage with GMF’s diverse forest ecosystem.
The carbon offset credit program is one piece of our working forest’s strategy that encompasses income from our more traditional forest products of timber and maple syrup, grants, and the ever-important donations from a supportive public—YOU.
Working with reputable environmental partner Bluesource, the GMF board and staff have ensured the forest meets all criteria to participate in a carbon credit program and ensure active sustainable maintenance of the forest.
GMF’s collaboration with the State of California (a state has compliance carbon caps for businesses and industries) and The Climate Trust is estimated to generate 360,000 carbon offset credits over the next decade.
Stewarding GMF into the future requires protecting and sustainably managing our forest into the future. It also answers a larger call to use our natural capital to reduce the planet’s carbon footprint.
Changing How a Working Forest Works
The World Resources Institute defines a working forest as forests that are actively managed to generate revenue from multiple sources, including sustainably produced timber and other ecosystem services, and thus are not converted to other land uses such as residential development.
For over 100 years GMF has been sustainably working and managing the forest mainly through timber and maple syrup production and sales.
More recently, Great Mountain Forest reconsidered how it stewards its precious natural resources, helps the planet move to carbon neutrality, and ensures the financial future of GMF. This working forest found a new way to work—carbon credits.
Trees perform a valuable ecosystem service. They are remarkably effective at sequestering carbon in their roots, trunks, and leaves. This ability keeps carbon safely in the ground and not attaching to oxygen in the atmosphere to form carbon dioxide, a notable greenhouse gas.
According to Yale Environment 360, ecologist Thomas Crowther estimates that 3 trillion trees currently populate the planet. Collectively, they store 400 gigatons of carbon in the ground.
Carbon credits for forests have their roots in the Kyoto Protocol in the late 1990’s. While that agreement didn’t gain the international consensus about climate change that it sought, it did call for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. That call has been answered over time by both governments and organizations around the world.
Fast forward, and a new currency in carbon has been established, known as carbon credits, which involve voluntary and compliance agreements to reduce the spewing of carbon in the atmosphere by industries, business entities, and countries.
Organizations and countries set limit on how much carbon they are permitted to produce in a given time frame.
These limits gave rise to cap and trade relationships between those whose carbon exceeded their limit (cap) and those who generated or released less carbon, the remainder of which they can sell (trade).
Those who buy offsets in the form of carbon credits are to use them as a transitional tool as they develop capacity to reduce their own carbon footprint over time and stay within their cap.
Selling carbon credits furthers GMF’s work in stewarding the trees and allows it to contribute to comprehensive efforts to reduce GHGs.
Sustainable Forest Management
The thinning of a forest stand requires the removal of suppressed and diseased trees to provide growing space for better quality trees.
Harvest cuts require the removal of mature trees to promote the establishment of a new generation of trees and increase the diversity within a forested area.
Wildlife Habitat Improvement
Wildlife habitat improvement cuts help enhance an area to meet the biological needs of a wildlife species, such as food, cover and breeding grounds.