Land Trust Alliance Announces Pilot Project to Assist Land Trusts in Accessing Carbon Markets

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Nonprofits Previously Unable to Participate Have New Funding Options

This pilot program represents a significant step forward in our shared effort to combat the effects of climate change. Together, we can and will make a difference.

The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, today announced a five-year pilot program providing access to voluntary carbon markets and a new source of conservation funding for land trusts who otherwise would not be able to participate.

The pilot program is operated in partnership with Finite Carbon, North America’s leading developer and supplier of forest carbon offsets, and The Climate Trust, the leading grassland offset developer in the United States. Finite Carbon will help land trusts that own forest lands to participate in the voluntary carbon offset market; The Climate Trust will provide up-front cash payments to land trusts to help finance the purchase of no-till grassland conservation easements from farmers and ranchers, making those lands eligible for the carbon market.

By participating in the voluntary carbon offset markets, nonprofit land trusts can access new and significant sources of funding. Moreover, research has shown that carbon sequestration in forests and grasslands can play a significant role in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

“Alongside our pioneering partners at Finite Carbon and The Climate Trust, the Land Trust Alliance is pleased to offer our nonprofit land trust members across the nation increased access to the voluntary carbon offset markets,” said Andrew Bowman, the Alliance’s president and CEO. “This pilot program represents a significant step forward in our shared effort to combat the effects of climate change. Together, we can and will make a difference.”

By essentially bundling small but similar land holdings of multiple land trusts, the pilot program affords new options to organizations with portfolios of lands that were too small to qualify for a carbon project on their own. The pilot program will allow the Alliance and its partners to test and adapt the program’s methodology; demonstrate the funding potential of participation in the voluntary carbon markets; and, potentially, lay the groundwork for rolling out the opportunity more broadly to all of the Alliance’s member land trust.

“Conservation is critical to climate resiliency,” said Sheldon Zakreski, executive director of The Climate Trust. “We are excited to partner with the Land Trust Alliance to offer a carbon-based funding platform for land trusts to increase capital sources for conservation easements. As the leading grassland offset developer in the U.S., The Climate Trust has effectively piloted this structure for funding high quality carbon projects. The Land Trust Alliance has a successful track record of using innovative programs to achieve its ambitious conservation goals. We think this will be a powerful collaboration.”

“For land trusts with small holdings, carbon revenue can be a big conservation opportunity,” said Sean Carney, CEO of Finite Carbon. “As North America’s leading developer and supplier of forest carbon offsets, Finite Carbon has seen firsthand how carbon revenue has improved the ecologic and economic bottom line for land trusts. We are proud to partner with the Land Trust Alliance to help land trusts unlock a new source of income while promoting cleaner air and water for us all.”

To participate in the pilot program, a land trust must be accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission or committed to becoming accredited, and it must pledge to operate, monitor and manage the land to ensure the permanence of the emission reductions. The Alliance will facilitate land trust participation, coordinating the various stages of the project and provide grants to help select land trusts cover their staff and out-of-pocket expenses. The Climate Trust and Finite Carbon will serve as technical project developers for grassland and forest projects, respectively, including assessing project feasibility, negotiating commercial terms, and marketing and selling offset credits to buyers.

About the Land Trust Alliance

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,000 member land trusts supported by more than 200,000 volunteers and 4.6 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at http://www.landtrustalliance.org.

About The Climate Trust

The Climate Trust combats climate change by funding and managing projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Founded in 1997, specifically to encourage the development and funding of offsets projects and programs, we are one of the most accomplished entities in the carbon marketplace. We have supported nearly one hundred emission reduction projects.

About Finite Carbon

Finite Carbon is North America’s leading developer of forest carbon offsets. With offices in seven states, it combines unparalleled project development experience with extensive carbon market knowledge. Finite Carbon has generated over one-third of all California compliance offset supply and delivered more than $500 million to landowners. Its project portfolio includes nearly three million acres of working forestland representing every region and major forest type from the Appalachians to coastal Alaska.

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Joshua Lynsen
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