Clemson offers carbon market workshop for South Carolina forest landowners
GEORGETOWN – Carbon credits trading from forest areas is attracting attention in the forest industry and Clemson Cooperative Extension experts are ready to help South Carolina forest landowners learn how participating in the carbon market can provide a new revenue stream for landowners while helping attack climate change.
A Carbon Markets for South Carolina workshop is scheduled for Sept. 21 at Clemson’s Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science Highway 17 North, 177 Hobcaw Road, Georgetown. There is no charge to attend this workshop, which begins at 9 a.m. Seating is limited to 50 participants. Go to http://tinyurl.com/ClemsonCarbonMarkets to register. The workshop concludes at noon.
Marzieh Motallebi, an assistant professor at Clemson’s Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, said this workshop focuses on teaching South Carolina forest landowners about the amount of carbon sequestered due to various forest management activities. Participants also will learn how they can benefit from participating in the carbon market. Carbon sequestration occurs when carbon is pulled from the atmosphere and put into storage for use later.
“We are going to talk about the benefits of joining the California Carbon Market for forest managers and landowners,” Motallebi said. “We want to show forest landowners how South Carolina potentially can be a seller of carbon credits from its forest areas.”
The Sept. 21 workshop will explain how South Carolina family forest owners can engage in the carbon market through creating and trading of carbon offsets, also known as carbon credits or carbon offsets. Carbon sequestration and the sale of carbon credits by South Carolina family forest owners could be beneficial in many ways, including combating climate change, enhancing wildlife habitat, improving soil quality, and conserving biodiversity.
A fact sheet titled Carbon Offsets for South Carolina Family Forest Landowners, was created by Motallebi and Clemson research specialists and post-doctoral, Mustapha Alhassan and Hamed Majidzadeh, also at the Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, to explain carbon offsets and explain why these are important in combating climate change and its impacts. By participating in the carbon market, South Carolina family forest owners will have an opportunity to contribute their quotas to efforts to reduce climate change impacts if they decide to create and sell forest offsets. Offsets can be sold through credit developers who first find buyers. A buyer can be a broker or the end user which is the regulated entity in the California Cap-and-Trade Program (CA-CTP). For more information, go to http://tinyurl.com/ClemsonCarbonOffsets.
Not all forests are eligible to participate in this market, Motallebi said. Forest landowners should conduct and inventory process and based on the amount of carbon they sequester each year they receive credits.
“They also should get specific certification to join this market,” she said, adding forest landowners should put their forests under easement for 100 years.
All of this will be explained during the workshop, she said. In addition to Motallebi, who will talk about the good and bad of the carbon market, other speakers include Hunter Parks, founder and chairman of Green Assets, who will talk about the carbon market mechanism and how this market functions. Michael Dawson, center director of the Audubon Center Sanctuary-Francis Beidler Forest will talk about South Carolina’s experience in the carbon market.
Some forest projects in South Carolina have already sold carbon credits in the California’s carbon market through carbon developers. The Francis Beidler Forest sold about 450,000 carbon credits for no less than $8 per credit in California’s carbon market in 2014 through a San Francisco carbon developer company known as Blue Source. Brookgreen Gardens also sold 162,551 carbon credits in California’s carbon market in 2015 through the Green Assets carbon developer company.
Forestry is a major contributor to the South Carolina economy. Information provided by the Forestry Association of South Carolina shows the total economic impact of South Carolina’s forest industry is valued at more than $21 billion annually. Data from the South Carolina Forestry Commission shows 88 percent of the state’s forests are privately owned and 63 percent of these private forest are family owned.