What are my responsibilities as a Member?

To participate with Forest Carbon Works, you must follow the commitments laid out in the Membership Agreement. Read on to learn more about the responsibilities that are required.

How long does Membership with Forest Carbon Works last?

When you choose to enroll as a Member of Forest Carbon Works, you are committing to the long-term conservation of your forest. Choosing to enroll is officialized through the signing of a renewable 5-year Membership Agreement. The renewable 5-year Membership Periods are carried out within the 25-year Payment Period. 

Through Forest Carbon Works, your commitment to long-term forest conservation will last a minimum of 125 years. This includes a 25-year Payment Period of receiving revenue for forest growth and maintenance, followed by a Legacy Period of 100 years. During the Legacy Period, there are lessened requirements for your property when compared with the Payment Period. The purpose of the Legacy Period is to ensure carbon is stored and managed in forests permanently. Sustainable harvesting is allowed as well as most common uses of forested land (recreation, hunting, hiking). 

If a landowner wants to continue to receive payments for their property after the initial 25-year Payment Period, they can choose to add additional 5-year Membership Periods. The 100-year Legacy Period starts at the end of the most recent Membership Period. 

Every year, Forest Carbon Works contributes to a Long-Term Monitoring Trust on behalf of its Members. The trust funds any required reporting and monitoring activities that ensure the forest is intact and healthy. 

What is the Membership Agreement?

By enrolling with Forest Carbon Works, landowners commit to certain requirements during renewable 5-year Membership Periods within the 125-year Project Lifetime. The initial 5-year Membership Period may be followed by any subsequent 5-year Membership Periods.

As the term of your first 5-year Membership Period comes to a close, you will have the option to renew for a second Membership Period. You will be allowed to do so if you have faithfully upheld your responsibilities, including timely reporting and harvest coordination with Forest Carbon Works. Beyond the second Membership Period, renewals are similar and may continue until the 25-year Payment Period is reached. At this point, renewed Membership Periods may also continue beyond the 25-year Payment Period, if desired. Otherwise, Members will enter into the 100-year Legacy Period.

Members who remain a part of Forest Carbon Works for the entire 25-year Payment Period (and any renewed periods after the first 25 years) are eligible to join our Long-Term Monitoring Trust for the required 100-year Legacy Period. Every year, Forest Carbon Works funds this trust to cover the costs of long-term reporting and monitoring requirements for our Members.

General responsibilities

Comply with laws and pay taxes
The Member must comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws during the entire project lifetime. Most commonly, this means paying property taxes on time.

Access to property for evaluation
The Member must provide property access to Forest Carbon Works for the purposes of documenting and auditing the property.  Forest Carbon Works will provide adequate advance notice when needing to visit the property.

Timber rights
The Member must maintain their timber rights on the property during the Membership Period.

Forest management

Commercial Harvesting must be coordinated with Forest Carbon Works
Planned commercial harvests must have prior approval from Forest Carbon Works. As part of enrollment with Forest Carbon Works, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and ATFS (American Tree Farm System) certification will be provided for your harvest at no cost. Forest Carbon Works will ensure your harvests follow a FSC and ATFS certified management plan. At the time of harvest, Forest Carbon Works must be notified.

Limited collection of firewood for personal use is allowed without FSC and ATFS certification. An annual estimate of personal firewood collection will be included in the Membership Agreement but Forest Carbon Works does 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 an offset fee or reduction in annual payment as carbon is being removed from the forest.

No planting non-native tree species
No planting of non-native tree species is allowed within the forest (gardens or ornamental trees around cabins or structures are okay).

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

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.

Property visits

Forest technician visits
The Member must allow Forest Carbon Works to visit their property to document the forest at least once every 5 years during the Membership Period. Trees must be documented by a Forest Carbon Works Forest Technician using our smartphone inventory tool. Members may hire a professional forester outside of Forest Carbon Works to document the forest if they prefer, but the forester must attend a training on how to use the smartphone inventory tool. Both Members and foresters are eligible for referral payments of new Members.

Reporting and auditing

Third-party audit
The Member must allow for Forest Carbon Works and the auditor to visit and assess the forest at least once during the 5-year Membership Period. The auditor may require an interview with the Member on the property or by phone.

Annual Reporting
Each year during the Membership Period, the Member must fill out a short online report for Forest Carbon Works. This Annual Report will allow Forest Carbon Works to stay notified of any planned harvests, disturbances to the property, or transfer of ownership. Completing the Annual Report is required in order to receive annual payments.

What if…?

I was late to pay an installment on my property taxes. How does this affect my Membership?

As long as the property taxes are up to date at the time of online reporting to Forest Carbon Works, then there is no effect. If property taxes are delinquent as of the reporting, then your report will be rejected by Forest Carbon Works and the Membership Agreement may be terminated.

What if I’m not available to meet with a representative of Forest Carbon Works on my property during the audit process?

This is not an issue so long as you’re available by phone for the auditor, and we have access to the property.

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 some good reasons why you should harvest timber at some point in the future. For example, 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 continue with the Forest Carbon Works Project?

If a property is sold or changes ownership, the new owner will be required to enroll with Forest Carbon Works or terminate Membership for a fee. The terms of Membership are attached to the land, not the landowner.

What if there is a natural disaster on my property?

When a natural disaster occurs on a property and trees are destroyed, this is referred to as an unintentional reversal. If there is an unintentional reversal on your property, please notify Forest Carbon Works immediately so we can take the appropriate next steps. If an unintentional reversal occurs on your property, you are not penalized as a Member for any losses in carbon but annual payments may be affected if the loss is substantial.

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 possess. Houses, barns, yards and gardens are not included in the bounds of Membership so it’s okay if they exist on the property. Any future forested land purchased by the Member after initiation would not automatically be included, but may need to have a sustainable management plan put in place if commercial harvesting is planned. If a Member wanted to enroll future forested land with Forest Carbon Works, then they could enroll the land as a new instance.

Is it possible to end Membership after the initial 5-year Membership Period with Forest Carbon Works?

Yes, but there will be a termination fee. One should definitely make all considerations and address all concerns before electing to move forward with Forest Carbon Works Membership. Enrolling your property with Forest Carbon Works is a major commitment. If you have concerns about this, please contact the Membership Advisor or Membership Specialist that is working with you.

Can I continue to receive revenue from Forest Carbon Works after the 25-year Payment Period?

Yes. You may elect to renew you Membership Period in 5-year increments and receive annual payments each year so long as you continue to meet the requirements. You may continue to renew your 5-year Membership Period over and over again. The 100-year Legacy Period begins at the end of the most recent 5-year Membership Period. Once the 100-year Legacy Period begins, you will no longer receive annual payments but requirements are lessened.

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