California issues first forest offset credits under compliance protocol, sealing legal commitment to long-term forest protection

April 9, 2014

Climate Action Reserve supports credit issuance and natural forest management

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Climate Action Reserve, an environmental nonprofit organization and North America’s premier carbon offset registry, is pleased to support the issuance of the first forest offset credits under a compliance protocol from California’s cap-and-trade program.  Today the California Air Resources Board (ARB) issued 836,619 compliance offset credits to the Yurok Tribe/Forest Carbon Partners CKGG Improved Forest Management Project, which covers about 8,000 acres of Douglas-fir and mixed hardwood on tribal land near the Klamath River in Northern California.  The project was registered with the Climate Action Reserve and developed in compliance with California’s Compliance Offset Protocol – U.S. Forest Projects, which is based on the Reserve’s Forest Project Protocol.

The credit issuance marks a significant milestone in the development of California’s cap-and-trade program and the state’s goal of protecting forests and promoting long-term environmentally sensitive forest management to help mitigate climate change.  Forest projects that qualify under the cap-and-trade program must maintain or increase carbon in live trees for more than 100 years, a requirement that was originally established in the Reserve’s Forest Project Protocol.

“Twenty percent of the world’s GHG emissions come from deforestation.  The acceptance of this project into California’s carbon market will encourage other public and private owners of forest lands to develop offset projects.  The issuance of these forest offset credits signifies a legal commitment to long-term forest protection and demonstrates the effectiveness and benefit of market mechanisms to encourage environmental action.  Forest carbon offset projects will continue to play an important role in our carbon market.  Congratulations to the Yurok Tribe, the State of California and the many organizations that worked so hard to make this a reality,” said Linda Adams, former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and Chair of the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors.  “I had the honor of working intimately on protecting California’s forests on both the state and nonprofit sides and am thrilled to see the issuance of the first forest offset credits under a compliance protocol for the state’s cap-and-trade program.”

In addition to guaranteeing long-term forest protection and natural forest management, the Yurok Tribe/Forest Carbon Partners CKGG Improved Forest Management Project provides significant revenue for the Yurok Tribe and will help enable the continued management of the Tribe’s ancestral homeland.  Among other benefits, it will improve forest habitat diversity and provide benefits to salmon and steelhead populations by improving riparian habitat and water quality.

“We have lost many of our old trees to deforestation, and numerous native plant and animal species, especially deer and elk, are struggling because of it,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke, Sr., Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “This forest carbon project enables the Tribe to help transition these acres back into a tribally managed natural forest system where wildlife and cultural resources like tanoak acorns, huckleberry, and hundreds of medicinal plants will thrive.”