Posted: April 6, 2020

The PA Tree Farm Committee announces a new opportunity for Pennsylvania forest landowners. The American Forest Foundation (AFF), in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, has launched a pilot carbon sequestration incentive program in selected areas of Pennsylvania in spring 2020.

It is called the Family Forest Carbon Program. A map of the eligible forestland is available on the website.

While advertising for in-person forester visits is currently paused due to COVID-19 health and safety precautions, the partnership is continually monitoring guidance from public health officials to determine when it will be safe to resume. The partnership has plans to extend the area to include all of Pennsylvania's private forestlands by next year.

The Family Forest Carbon Program is designed to be easily accessible to small landowners, removing the barriers landowners often face--access, lack of expertise, and cost--to help them manage and optimize their family forests for carbon sequestration. Landowners will get payments to maintain their forestland with the agreed upon practices. This is accomplished by:

  • Adopting a practice-based approach that offers incentives for specific forest management practices which have been scientifically demonstrated to enhance carbon sequestration. In Pennsylvania, there are two practices that will be funded initially:
      1. Extended harvest cycles: no select cuts; encourage a sustainable harvest that will maintain basal area and viable seed source for future forests.
      2. Competing vegetation control: controlling competing vines, shrubs, grasses, and forbs to grow a sustaining forest, in conjunction with a planned regeneration harvest.
  • Engaging family forest owners with trusted information and decades of experience working with private landowners.
  • Reducing the expenses to landowners by 75% while creating a path to income.
  • Offering carbon benefits to businesses and partners to help them reach their sustainable development goals and demonstrate their leadership on climate issues.

The diagram on the website shows how this process works.

The Family Forest Carbon Program makes it economically feasible to engage family lands at a large scale, thus making a significant contribution to the nation's climate mitigation strategy. According to the initial estimates from the program's science team, if 20% of these family forest acres across the US (54 million) were managed using practices that optimized carbon sequestration by 2030, this program could sequester over two gigatons of CO2 through the balance of the century.

Program participants are expected to work with professional foresters to implement one or more practices that align with the landowner's management goals. The recommended forest management practices have been scientifically demonstrated to enhance carbon sequestration. If you are interested in participating in the Family Forest Carbon Program, sign up at https://www.familyforestcarbon.org/. Sign up now, even if the pilot is not yet in your area, and you will be notified when it is available. For more information, visit the AFF's site at Sequestering Carbon from Family Forests and click on the "Learn more about Family Forest Carbon Program" link in the Family Forest Carbon Program paragraph.

For more information about the PA Tree Farm program, visit our webpage.

Center for Private Forests

Address

416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

Center for Private Forests

Address

416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802