Innovative Carbon Finance Strategy Pays for Active Forest Conservation
ACR and Green Assets pioneer new methodology to generate carbon credits and prevent forest loss
A new methodology released by ACR at Winrock International offers an innovative avenue to conserve and enhance forestlands in the United States.
Every year, the US loses nearly three million acres (1.2 million hectares) of forest to other land uses, negatively affecting wildlife and water quality and releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The new ACR methodology – developed in partnership with Green Assets, Inc. – uses carbon finance to conserve and sustainably manage forests that are at risk of conversion to non-forest uses.
The newly published Methodology for the Quantification, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions from Active Conservation and Sustainable Management on U.S. Forestlands generates carbon credits from forgoing the conversion of at-risk forests to agriculture, mining, real estate, and other non-forest land use development, and instead employing long-term conservation via 40+ year legally binding easements to durably protect and sustainably manage the forest resources.
“The loss of forestland to alternate uses is a major concern in the U.S. and worldwide,” said Dr. Kurt Krapfl, Forestry Director for ACR. “Carbon markets can create a powerful financial incentive to keep forests as forests, which is vital to achieve our climate goals.”
In addition to providing habitat for wildlife, clean water for drinking, recreation opportunities, and wood products, forests store vast quantities of carbon. Today, forests represent the largest terrestrial carbon sink in the US, capturing and storing approximately 13% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. When forests are converted to other land uses, much of this carbon is emitted to the atmosphere where it contributes to climate change.
“As landowners working with landowners, we see firsthand the benefits of carbon finance in keeping forestland as forestland,” said Bailey Evans, CEO of Green Assets, which partnered with ACR to develop the new methodology. “We understand and have demonstrated the power of conservation finance to help landowners implement sustainable timber management, meet long-term stewardship goals, and conserve forestland. Green Assets is excited to partner with ACR to promote active forestland conservation across the country.”
In development since 2021, the publication of the new ACR methodology marks a significant step forward in addressing climate change through land-based initiatives and incentivizing active conservation and sustainable forest management practices. To qualify, landowners must demonstrate the threat of forest conversion through a qualified appraisal, then enact a legally binding conservation easement that ensures long-term carbon storage and accumulation associated with continued forest cover.
The quantified forest carbon stored and sequestered through forest growth on eligible projects generates tradable market assets in the form of carbon credits, which reward the landowner financially for the climate and ecosystem services benefits their forestlands provide.
ACR is an internationally recognized carbon crediting program that operates in global compliance and voluntary carbon markets. A nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, ACR was founded in 1996 as the first private greenhouse gas (GHG) registry in the world with the mission of harnessing the power of markets to improve the environment. ACR has long pioneered science-based methodologies for activities that reduce and remove GHG emissions in the forestry and land use, energy, and industrial sectors. ACR methodologies are built on the ACR Standard, which is rooted in sound science to ensure the emission reduction and removal credits we issue are real, additional, permanent, and independently verified. Learn more at https://acrcarbon.org/.
About Green Assets
Green Assets, “Landowners Working with Landowners®,” is a trusted leader in designing and implementing sustainable conservation and forest carbon credit projects. They work to bring environmental and economic value to clients & credit purchasers through unique opportunities and markets. Green Assets utilizes first-hand knowledge and expertise to enhance the economic and environmental potential of forest properties. Learn more at https://green-assets.com/.