“Using our nation’s forest inventory to open carbon markets to family forest owners”

Here’s an announcement from the Forest Service about a program designed to promote use of small, private forests for carbon offsets.  In particular, it’s about the the use of Forest Service FIA data in this program, but I’m always interested in what management practices are considered to be worth getting paid for, and I don’t think I’ve seen them this clearly specified.  The program website says, “When you enroll, you’ll receive payments for implementing forest management practices that increase the carbon sequestered and stored on your land.”  This program seems to be only available in the eastern U. S., but if you track through the links you can find the specific “management requirements” for several states under the “Practice Overview” documents here.   The three groups of states are each a little different.

Michigan/Minnesota/Wisconsin (Payments are higher for “growing mature forests” than for “promoting diverse forests;” these are requirements for the former, while the latter allows more intensive logging, but has requirements for reserve areas.)

  • Harvests may not remove more than 25% of the basal area at the time of the harvest.
  • Harvests may not reduce the average stand diameter by more than 10%.

Maryland/Pennsylvania/West Virginia (Payment is for “growing mature forests” only)

  • If you choose to conduct a timber harvest, it must not remove more than 25% of the basal area per acre
  • High-grading is prohibited during the contract period. High-grading is defined as a reduction in quadratic mean tree diameter of more than 10% from the pre-harvest condition.

Vermont/eastern New York (Payments are higher for “grow older forests” than for “enhance your woodland.”  The former generally requires deferment of commercial logging for 20 years.  The latter restricts timber harvest based on basal area, diameter, trees per acre, snags and opening size.)

Would something like this make sense in the west?  For federal lands (as a best management practice, since they couldn’t be paid for it)?  (I know we’ve had some discussions about thinning requirements based on basal area vs other metrics.)



2 thoughts on ““Using our nation’s forest inventory to open carbon markets to family forest owners””

  1. We’re not going to “offset” our way out of this mess. Don’t believe the hype of carbon markets. Un-regulated wild west.

  2. Jon, I don’t think they would make sense because of the mesic/dry differentiation. In dry forests, we may need to reduce basal area to the point at which the living trees can thrive and survive droughts. As I have said, dead trees sequester no carbon (although of course they store it for awhile).


Leave a Comment

Discover more from The Smokey Wire : National Forest News and Views

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading