Over 60 percent of forests in the United States are privately held, meaning that landowners hold great sway over the future of our woodlands. When we lose forests, we also lose their ability to absorb carbon from fossil fuel emissions, and we lose critical breeding and nesting habitat for woodland creatures—including migratory birds, which rely on forests as breeding and stopover habitat during their long journeys north and south.
Audubon Vermont and New Hampshire Audubon have an idea that they think will encourage landowners to conserve their forests: trading green for green! By selling carbon credits for the amount of carbon their forests sequester, landowners can literally be paid for protecting wildlife habitat and the climate. The trouble is, few landowners are aware of this emerging green market and those who are find it confusing.
Audubon’s connections with landowners and carbon markets will help jumpstart this program, educating landowners about ways to make sure their forest habitats sequester as much carbon as possible and provide as much habitat as possible for priority species like wood thrush.
Audubon biologists believe this is a strongly replicable model, one they are anxious to test out. The goal is to connect with landowners and make them aware of the opportunities provided by this new market so that they can consider the win-win benefits for both people and nature.