What are the prerequisites for my forest?

Before taking the qualification quiz and submitting an application, see if your forest qualifies for Membership by meeting the requirements below.

Landowner starting online application

To be eligible for a Membership with Forest Carbon Works, landowners and their forests must meet the following criteria upon application.

If you have questions regarding the eligibility of your forest, please contact Forest Carbon Works before you apply.


The property must contain at least 40 acres of forested land.

Forested land means at least 10 percent tree canopy cover.

The property must be privately owned.

Federal, state, or municipally owned land is not eligible for participation under Forest Carbon Works. Likewise, land held under a public easement of any of these entities is not eligible.

The property must be located in the United States.

Specifically, within one or more of the lower 48 states and parts of southeastern Alaska. Currently, other areas of Alaska and all of Hawaii are excluded.

Landowners must enroll all forested land.

This includes all non-contiguous forested land and forested land in other areas. Forested land is real property that supports, or can support, at least 10 percent tree canopy cover.

This prerequisite applies to all co-owners listed on the deed of the property that have at least 50 percent or greater interest in the forested land. Landowners may be natural human beings or entities, such as LLCs or trusts.

Commercial harvests that have occurred on the property within 10 years prior to application must be disclosed.

A commercial harvest is the intentional removal of trees for the purpose of generating income or achieving a specific management objective. Forest Carbon Works confirms this prerequisite has been met by examining historical aerial photography at the time of your application, relative to the date of the last reported harvest. In some cases where the extent of the harvest is large and/or the harvest has occurred recently, the property may be ineligible for Membership.

Landowners must be willing to limit harvesting.

We promote long-term forest conservation, which goes hand in hand with carbon sequestration. To ensure forests are maintained for the long term, harvesting may be limited, but still allowed. In some cases, landowners may pay a fee to harvest and still maintain their Membership.   

A well-managed forest is a healthy forest. We will work with each landowner to see if their forestry goals and management plans align with Forest Carbon Works Membership. Any future harvesting plans will need to be shared with Forest Carbon Works to ensure alignment of harvesting and Membership requirements. Our goal is both to conserve healthy forests for the future and to find financial solutions for landowners.

Landowners must be up-to-date on their property taxes.

Landowners must have complete control of the timber on their property.

Landowners may not lease timber rights on their property.

Landowners must have complete control of the timber on their property.

Commercial harvesting must be legally allowed on the property, but must not be legally required.

If harvesting is prohibited, for example, by an existing no-touch conservation easement, the property is not eligible for Membership. Working easements or easements with few restrictions may still be eligible.

Likewise, if you have a prior contractual obligation to harvest timber, the property may not be eligible for Membership – it will depend on the harvest obligation details. If you are enrolled in a tax incentive program and are required to harvest on your property, we will need to review the harvest schedule to see if your forest is still eligible.

If you are unsure about the terms of your harvest obligations or restrictions, please include all related documentation upon application submission.

Landowners may not enroll property that was previously listed as a verified forest carbon project.

If the property was previously included in a verified forest carbon project, such as through the now defunct Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), then that property is not eligible for Membership with Forest Carbon Works. If you have signed a contract for a one-year harvest deferral program but have not yet been paid, check with your Membership Advisor to see if there is a pathway forward for your property.

What if…?

Unsure if you qualify based on these criteria? Here are some common questions about land requirements:

I inherited the family forest from my parents. My brother and I are listed on the deed as 50/50 owners. However, my brother doesn’t want anything to do with Membership. Can I still enroll?

As every owner who has 50% or greater interest must agree to move forward with Forest Carbon Works and it is unlikely that your brother would do so, you are probably not eligible for Membership in Forest Carbon Works. Our Membership Advisors would be happy to meet with your brother and see if we can address his concerns.

My family has founded a Limited Liability Partnership to take ownership of the forest property that we want to enroll. Outside of the partnership, I own an additional 220 acres of property which contains some forest. Do I need to enroll my personal property in order to be paid for our conservation?

As the landowner is a Limited Liability Partnership and the partnership does not have an ownership interest in your 220 acres of personal forest property, you do not have to enroll your personal property to be eligible for Membership. To clarify, Membership will be given to the Limited Liability Partnership and not specifically to you or your family members.

Occasionally we cut living and dead trees by hand for firewood and sometimes we sell some of our firewood to our neighbors. Are we eligible for Membership in Forest Carbon Works even though we have harvested trees?

As the harvesting of firewood does not appear to be for the purpose of income generation, but for personal use, you are eligible for Membership in Forest Carbon Works if you and your property meet the other prerequisites. It is also unlikely that the harvesting of trees for firewood can be detected from historical aerial photography, or that it would detract significantly from carbon stocks.

I purchased my forest property eight years ago. However, the prior owner harvested most of the timber from the property before they sold it to me. As I haven’t harvested any timber from the property myself, can I still conserve my forest with Forest Carbon Works?

If you were to apply for Membership today, you may not qualify because there was a significant commercial harvest within the last ten years. You may be eligible but this can only be determined after your forest has been evaluated.

Please submit an application and reach out to your Membership Advisor to discuss this concern further.

My forest property is located in Wisconsin and I am enrolled in the Managed Forest Law program. The management plan that was created for my property and that is recognized by the program stipulates that I should harvest 28 acres of mature red pine next year out of 200 acres. Am I eligible for Membership in Forest Carbon Works even though I am enrolled in the MFL program?

The MFL program was created by law as an incentive for forest management. Because the MFL program requires you to follow your management plan and the management plan stipulates this harvest, the harvest is likely required by law. Although the answer to your question is unclear, the best approach is to have your management plan reviewed by the Forest Carbon Works Membership Advisor reviewing your application. You may need your plan to be amended by a qualified forester to exclude the harvest. Alternatively, you may withdraw from the MFL program.

Please submit an application and reach out to your Membership Advisor to discuss this concern further.

Am I eligible if my property is enrolled in a state tax program or current use program?

Depending on the constraints of the state program or if the state places a lien on your property, you may or may not be eligible for Forest Carbon Works. It will be necessary for the Forest Carbon Works Membership Advisor processing your application to review your state administered management plan to further assess. Even if your application has been accepted you may eventually have to choose between enrolling in Forest Carbon Works or maintaining involvement in the state tax program. However, in many cases, state tax programs and their harvest requirement coincide with Forest Carbon Works Membership.

Please submit an application and reach out to your Membership Advisor to discuss this concern further.

Why is there a prerequisite that harvests occurring 10 years prior to application submission may make a property ineligible?

Under Forest Carbon Works, harvests which have occurred within 10 years prior to submission of an application may disqualify a property from participation. This specifically depends on the amount harvested, when the harvest occurred and the volume which existed prior to the harvest.

If a harvest has occurred on your property, we welcome you to still submit an application and any harvest documentation as you may still qualify for Forest Carbon Works. The Membership Advisor working on your application will help to determine if you are eligible or not.

Can I place a conservation easement on my property in conjunction with Forest Carbon Works enrollment?

Yes. You can place a conservation easement on your property (or part of your property) in conjunction with Forest Carbon Works enrollment. While creating a conservation easement in conjunction with Membership is possible, having a conservation easement in place prior to project commencement can potentially make your forest ineligible, depending on the requirements and when it was officialized.

Why does having an existing conservation easement disqualify me from enrolling with Forest Carbon?

Depending on the details and restrictions created by the conservation easement (especially if management/harvesting are forbidden), a property may be disqualified from Forest Carbon Works. This is because it must be demonstrated that the long-term conservation carried out under your Membership conserves the property more than what would be expected under a business-as-usual scenario.

If a property already has a conservation easement in place which forbids management or harvesting, then participating with Forest Carbon Works would not conserve the property more than the easement that is already in place. This is an important concept known as additionality and it is required for all Memberships with Forest Carbon Works.

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