Wondering what these responsibilities mean for you and your forest? Here are some common questions about landowner responsibilities:
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 verification process?
This is not an issue so long as you’re available by phone for the auditor, and we have access to the property.
What if I sell some of my timber during the contract period?
A commercial harvest during the contract period may result in termination of the Membership Agreement and imposition of certain penalties if the Membership Agreement does not explicitly allow for a commercial harvest. No commercial harvests are allowed during the first six years of the contract period.
What if I sell some of my timber after the contract period?
You may conduct a commercial harvest after the Membership Agreement expires, however you must follow the rules of the protocol. Forest Carbon Works recommends working with a qualified forester to assess the implications of a commercial harvest on the status of the forest carbon project.
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.
I intend to plant some non-native, ornamental trees near my cabin on the property. Can I plant these trees without violating the terms of the Membership Agreement?
Yes, you can plant non-native trees near the cabin because the cabin is not included in the forest project area. As the cabin and the open yard around the cabin do not qualify as forestland, the terms do not apply.
If a property is sold, does the buyer have to continue with the carbon project?
If a property is sold or changes ownership, the new owner will be required to continue with the forest carbon project. The terms of the forest carbon project are attached to the land, not the landowner. If a property owner decides to intentionally end their forest carbon project, they will be legally required by the state of California to replace (i.e., buy) any Air Resources Board forest offset credits that have been previously issued to the project.
What if there is a natural disaster on my property?
When a natural disaster occurs on a property where there is a forest carbon project and carbon stocks are lost, 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 landowner for any losses in carbon stocks but annual payments may be affected if the loss is substantial.
Why is harvesting not allowed within the first six years of the harvest period?
Harvests are not allowed within the first six years of the contract period because projects are often very sensitive at their start. The risk associated at the outset of the project is one that we aim to buffer through disallowing harvest, at least for the first six-year contract period with Forest Carbon Works. Past the initial six years of the contract period, and if a landowner elects to renew their contract with us, harvests can be coordinated with Forest Carbon Works. We can help schedule harvests that will comply with the requirements of forest carbon projects.
What happens if I want to harvest during the crediting period?
Beyond the initial six-year contract period with Forest Carbon Works, harvesting is allowed on the property during the crediting period. However, harvest plans must be appropriately planned and coordinated with Forest Carbon Works. Any harvests which take place must not reduce biomass below certain levels. If at the time of the third party audit, the project’s stocks are below certain levels due to deliberate activity (such as harvesting), an intentional reversal occurs. If an intentional reversal occurs, you may not receive your annual payment.
If additional land is acquired by the landowner after project commencement, does that land have to be enrolled in the carbon project?
Landowners are required to include all forested land that they currently possess in the project. Houses, barns, yards and gardens will be cut out of the project, so it’s okay if they exist on the property. Any future forestland purchased by the landowner after project commencement would not be included in the project but may need to have a sustainable management plan put in place. If a landowner wanted to enroll future forestland in a carbon project, they could enroll the land in a new project with Forest Carbon Works.
Can I allocate credits created by the project to other people or trusts?
As part of the Membership Agreement, members agree to receive an annual payment from Forest Carbon Works, not the credits themselves.
Is it possible to end a forest carbon project after the initial six-year contract period with Forest Carbon Works?
No. One should definitely make all considerations and address all concerns before electing to move forward with a forest carbon project. Enrolling your property in a forest carbon project is a major legal commitment which will last, at a minimum, 125 years. Although one is not required to enter into another six-year contract period with Forest Carbon Works, it is legally required to continue with the project for the entirety of its lifetime. If an individual does decide to intentionally end their forest carbon project, they will be legally required by the state of California to replace (i.e., buy) any Air Resources Board forest offset credits that have been previously issued to the project plus a penalty.
Is it possible to continue having a forest carbon project without a contract with Forest Carbon Works?
Yes. After the initial six-year contract period, you are not obligated to renew your contract with Forest Carbon Works. Although we recommend contract renewal with Forest Carbon Works, you may instead report to the Air Resources Board every six years by yourself or with help from another developer, forester or forestry consulting group. No matter the choice, the project must continue for at least the remainder of the 25-year crediting period followed by the 100-year monitoring period.
Can I continue to receive revenue from my forest carbon project after the 25-year crediting period?
Yes. The landowner may elect to renew their crediting period in 25-year increments and receive annual payments each year during the crediting period so long as the project is in compliance with the law. The landowner may continue to renew their crediting period over and over again. The 100-year monitoring period begins on the date that the last credit for the project is issued. Once the 100-year monitoring period begins, the project will no longer generate credits and landowners will no long receive annual payments.