This brief provides an overview of the Carbon Canopy, a novel partnership among companies, landowners, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that seeks to leverage markets for ecosystem services to increase the area of southern U.S. forests certified as sustainably managed. It is designed to inform companies, NGOs, and other organizations
interested in developing or participating in similar programs
that link forest certification with carbon offsets.
The Carbon Canopy is a novel partnership among companies,
landowners, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that
seeks to leverage markets for ecosystem services to increase the
area of southern U.S. forests certified as sustainably managed. The
partnership aspires to sustain southern forests for their economic,
climate, water, and other benefits.
The Carbon Canopy’s first focus has been on linking forest carbon
offset generation and certified forest management, wherein carbon
offset revenue is designed to compensate woodland owners for the
cost of certification and provide an attractive new revenue stream.
The Carbon Canopy’s experience to date provides a number of insights
for other organizations seeking to build and expand markets for
forest carbon offsets linked with forest certification. These insights
were gleaned from the authors’ observations as well as interviews
with several members of the Carbon Canopy partnership, including
landowners, buyers, and NGOs. These insights apply to building demand,
ensuring supply, and creating the transactional infrastructure
for forest carbon offsets and certified saw timber or wood fiber.
To build robust demand, companies, NGOs, and other organizations
seeking to replicate the approach of combining forest carbon
offsets and certification should—
Actively recruit buyers; and
Secure an anchor buyer early on.
To ensure sufficient supply of offsets and certified timber, these
Invest in woodland owner education;
Make the business case to woodland owners;
Find upfront financing; and
Be sure to engage all parties with claims on the land.
To create an efficient transactional infrastructure, these organizations
Select forest management and carbon offset certification standards
Select standards that are high quality and that facilitate market
Leverage existing resources and landowner networks.