What are my responsibilities as a Forest Carbon Works Conserve Member?

While carbon markets are complicated, we make it as easy as possible for landowners to profit from them.

Membership Responsibilities

Our program is designed to increase net carbon stocks in privately-owned US woodlands. It enables forests to become more resilient to change, be better stocked with larger and older trees, and to maintain high growth rates. It can often also result in higher wood production levels over time.

Conserve members’ premium annual payments are made possible by our proprietary forest inventory and monitoring technology, as well as the market-preferred forest management certifications we include to our members as a free service.

Our program’s industry-leading contract options let members benefit from expected future voluntary carbon offset credit price appreciation and to choose the contract length that works best for them.

We conduct an initial on-site forest carbon analysis within the first 6 months of membership. Thereafter, we only need to visit our members’ land a few times over the entire standard 25-year payment period. Members simply collect their payments and continue to enjoy the land!

Read below to learn more about member responsibilities.

Contract duration

Our contract offers a standard 25-year annual payment period, followed by either a 35 or (optional) 100-year monitoring period. The standard 35-year monitoring period is reflective of industry norms that assure credit buyers of the “permanence” of carbon credits, whereas the Extended 100-year monitoring period is considered even more valuable to buyers. The 100-year option thus makes even higher payments to our members possible. In fact, members who opt for the Extended 100-year monitoring period are eligible to receive doubled payments under the standard payment model, and potentially double (or even greater) payments under the revenue share payment model.

Our members structure their planned forest management activities around membership as it suits them, working with our team of Regional Foresters to optimize their overall outcomes. If concerned about the ability to leave the program during the life of the contract, know that you or your successors can always leverage an exit option (learn more in Program Exit Options). Our team is always willing to engage with heirs, legal counsel, etc. as needed to discuss these options.

General responsibilities

Access to property for evaluation and audit
Our Forest Technicians and Natural Resources Team must access our members’ property 2-3 times during their 25 year payment period to complete carbon inventories. We always provide members with plenty of advance notice before every visit.

Timber rights
As a Forest Carbon Works Conserve Member, you must maintain ownership of your timber rights (your right to commercially harvest) while enrolled in our program.

Forest management

Commercial harvesting must be coordinated
Planned commercial harvests must have prior approval from Forest Carbon Works. At no cost to members, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification is provided, and we ensure that harvests follow an FSC-compliant management plan. At the time of actual harvest, Forest Carbon Works must also be notified.

Limited collection of firewood for personal use is allowed without FSC certification. An annual estimate of personal firewood collection is included in our program’s legal agreement, but we do not need to be notified of removals. Likewise, sanitation removals are allowed with timely approval from Forest Carbon Works.

Depending on the timing and extent, commercial harvesting may incur a harvest offset fee or reduction in annual payment, because carbon is being removed from the forest.

No planting non-native tree species
Planting of non-native tree species is not allowed within the forest, though such planting in gardens or ornamental trees around cabins or structures are allowed.

No broadcast fertilization
No broadcast fertilization is allowed in forested areas of the property.

If additional land is acquired after initiating membership, does that land have to be enrolled?
Members are required to include all forested land that they currently own. Houses, barns, yards and gardens are not included in the bounds of membership. Any future forested land purchased by the member after initiation is not automatically required to be included, but may need to have a sustainable management plan put in place if commercial harvesting is planned. If a member wants to enroll future forested land with Forest Carbon Works, then they can enroll the land as a new instance under separate contract.

Forest management plan for additional land
If additional forestland is purchased by any of the Members after the time of enrollment with intentions to carry out commercial harvesting, the Member must commit to developing and implementing a management plan for all forest land in their ownership. The management plan must be approved by Forest Carbon Works. If no additional forested land is acquired during the Membership Period, then no forested management plan is required. Likewise, if additional forested land is acquired during the Membership Period without intentions of commercial harvesting, then no forest management plan is required.

Annual survey
A simple online Annual Survey must be completed by our members each year during the payment period. The survey takes most members less than 15 minutes to complete, and reports on such things as changes in forest health conditions, firewood removals, and ownership transfers.

What if…?

I don’t ever want to harvest timber from my property. Will I be forced to harvest timber at some point?

No, you are never required to harvest timber. However, there are good reasons why you should harvest at least some timber occasionally. For example, the right kinds of harvesting can help maintain the vigor of your forest and its ability to effectively sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

If a property is sold, does the buyer have to maintain membership?

The terms of membership are attached to the land, not the landowner. So, if a property is sold or changes ownership, the new owner is required to enroll with Forest Carbon Works or (for a fee) terminate the membership.

What if there is a natural disaster on my property?

When a natural disaster occurs on a property and trees are destroyed, we consider this an “unintentional reversal” – in other words, carbon stocks and accretion were unintentionally adversely affected. If there is an unintentional reversal on your property, members must notify Forest Carbon Works immediately so we can take appropriate next steps. If an unintentional reversal occurs on your property, you are not penalized for any losses in carbon, but annual payments may be affected if the loss is substantial.

Ready to get started?

Create an account and complete our land assessment application. Once your forest is qualified, we’ll send you a Membership Offer!

Apply now