ImpactAlpha, July 27 – Nearly 40% of forestland in the U.S. is family owned. The American Forest Foundation wants to incentivize such smallholder forest owners to conserve and protect their land by connecting them to carbon markets.
The nonprofit, with support from Morgan Stanley and The Nature Conservancy, issued a $10 million green bond to support its Family Forest Carbon Program. The program pays forest owners to learn and implement sustainable, long-term management practices. It then measures and verifies sequestered and stored carbon so that families can sell carbon credits.
The program’s goal is to improve management on 55 million acres of forestland in the U.S. and to mitigate 90 million tons of carbon annually.
Two-thirds of family forest owners have household incomes of less than $100,000. “The biggest barrier for many landowners is the large amount of upfront capital typically required by carbon projects,” explained American Forest Foundation’s Rita Hite.
A portion of the bond’s proceeds will support underrepresented landowners.