The majority of forests in the United States — 39% — are owned by families and individuals who have valuable experience and want to be good stewards of their land. But good forest stewardship is expensive and requires technical expertise. This is where the Family Forest Carbon Program comes in.
Developed by two long-standing nonprofits, the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, this program enables family forest owners to earn income from their land by helping them participate in carbon markets. In addition to an annual income stream, the program provides professional guidance from a forester and a forest management plan that results in a healthier, more resilient and more valuable forest.
The Family Forest Carbon Program is not a government-run program. It is funded through philanthropic donations, grants and contracts with corporations who purchase high-integrity, verified carbon credits. Essentially, carbon markets put a dollar value on carbon that is then sold to companies that have been vetted for their commitment to sustainability. This program allows family forest owners to earn guaranteed additional income from their land which can help them cover the costs of forest management activities that sequester and store more carbon.
A Unique Approach for All Landowners
The Family Forest Carbon Program is now officially open in more than 90 counties across Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin for landowners with 30 or more acres of land.
AFF Senior Forestry Manager Brittany VanderWall explains, “The program is specifically designed for non-industrial private forest landowners.” Enrollment in the program not only increases the value of your forest but also supports achieving vital economic and environmental outcomes, as well as driving economic stimulus to forest owners’ local communities.
Enrolling in the Family Forest Carbon Program comes with a range of benefits for forest landowners:
- Access to professional foresters for expert assistance for managing your forest (or the opportunity to continue working with your trusted consulting forester).
- A customized forest management plan tailored to your goals and your property.
- Guaranteed annual payments to help you reach your goals.
- Practical resources to assist future generations in carrying on your legacy of good forest stewardship.
- An opportunity to join a community of like-minded landowners.
A Legacy for Future Generations
As Tim Stout, an enrolled landowner in Vermont, recently said, “Let’s not be glum about climate change. Let’s be positive about what we can do.” As a forest landowner in the scenic and thriving Northwoods region of the Midwest, you too can play a vital role in combating climate change.
Your participation in the Family Forest Carbon Program allows you to contribute in a meaningful way and ensure that your family and your community will enjoy the beauty and many benefits of your land—for generations to come. Chrissy Shaw, Senior Forestry Manager and Minnesota native, adds, “With climate change on the horizon, there are many more difficulties that the future may hold for us. Forests and the trees within them are not exempt. Luckily, the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy have been working hard to bring a program that would provide some relief to our forests in the face of climate change, along with providing additional income to help finance sustainable forest management goals.”
If you or someone you know owns 30+ acres of woodland and could benefit from the guaranteed annual income, forest management plan and forestry expertise provided by the Family Forest Carbon Program, please see https://www.familyforestcarbon.org/.