What are the requirements for my land?

Before getting started, see if your property meets the requirements for a forest carbon project.

To be eligible for a project with Forest Carbon Works, landowners and the forest property must meet the following criteria when you apply.

You can also take our qualification quiz to see if your property meets the basic requirements.

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

 

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

Forestland must support, or can support, at least ten 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. Other areas of Alaska and all of Hawaii are excluded.

Landowners must enroll all forestland.

This includes all non-contiguous forestland and forestland in other areas. Forestland is real property that supports, or can support, at least ten percent tree canopy cover.

This prerequisite applies to all co-owners listed on the deed of the property. Accordingly, all landowners are required to sign attestations at the time of enrollment.

Commercial harvests have not occurred on the property within 10 years prior to the enrollment date. (Certain exceptions may apply.)

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 meet by examining historical aerial photography at the time of your application, relative to the date of the last reported harvest.

In some limited cases, to be determined after the time of tree measurement, a commercial harvest within 10 years prior to the enrollment date may be allowed. Contact a Forest Carbon Works representative if you are unsure about a harvest within the last 10 years.

Landowners must be willing to forgo harvesting for the first six-year contract period.

We provide value by standardizing the process to create access for small landowners to the carbon markets. To minimize complexity, landowners must be willing to forgo harvesting in the first six-year contract period.

We believe that active management is important to maintaining a healthy forest, so we support harvesting in subsequent contract renewals. The first six-year period allows time to carefully plan harvests for the next period and to account for harvest impacts on your carbon stocks.

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

All due taxes must be paid at the time of membership application. Payment status of property taxes is confirmed with the county assessor’s office.

Landowners may not lease timber rights on their property.

As with the prerequisites on enrolling all forestland above, all landowners are required to sign attestations at the time of enrollment.

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

If harvesting is prohibited by an existing conservation easement, the landowner is not eligible for membership. Likewise, if the landowner has a prior contractual obligation to harvest timber, the landowner is not eligible for membership. Working easements or easements with few restrictions may still be eligible.

Contact a Forest Carbon Works representative if you are unsure about the terms of your conservation easement in this regard.

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

Although highly unlikely, 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.

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 the owners. However, my brother doesn’t want anything to do with carbon credits. Can I still enroll?

As every owner of the family forest must sign an attestation 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.

 

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 eligible for membership?

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. Agreed upon removals of firewood may occur during each year of membership with Forest Carbon Works.

 

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, am I eligible for membership in Forest Carbon Works?

If you were to apply for membership today, you may not qualify because there was a commercial harvest within the last ten years. You may be eligible for an exception but this can only be determined after your trees have been measured.

Please reach out to a Forest Carbon Works representative to discuss this concern further, as you may still be able to apply and receive a free carbon inventory.

 

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. 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 amended by a qualified forester to exclude the harvest. Alternatively, you may withdraw from the MFL program.

 

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. If the state program does not allow for harvests, you likely will not be eligible for Forest Carbon Works. It will be necessary for the Forest Carbon Works representative processing your application to get in contact with the state to completely determine eligibility. Even if your application has been accepted you may eventually have to choose between enrolling in Forest Carbon Works or maintaining involvement in the forest tax law program.

 

Why is there a prerequisite that harvests cannot occur 10 years prior to project commencement?

Under the Forest Carbon Works program, harvests which have occurred within 10 years prior to project commencement may disqualify a property from participating in Forest Carbon Works. This specifically depends on the amount harvested, when the harvest occurred and the carbon stocks which existed prior to the harvest. Determining eligibility under this circumstance may require the completion of additional complex analyses.

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 analyst 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 a forest carbon project?

Yes. You can place a conservation easement on your property (or part of your property) in conjunction with a forest carbon project. In doing so, the risk associated with your project is lowered. This, in turn, can directly increase your project’s crediting. We can help facilitate this process during project development. While creating a conservation easement in conjunction with a project is possible, having a conservation easement in place prior to project development can potentially make a project ineligible, if the easement was placed beyond a year prior to the carbon project commencement date and included certain harvest limitations.

Please reach out to a Forest Carbon Works representative to discuss this concern further, as you may still be able to apply and receive a free carbon inventory.

Why does having an existing conservation easement disqualify me from having a carbon project on my property?

Depending on the details and restrictions (especially if management/harvesting are forbidden) created by the conservation easement, a property may be disqualified from hosting a carbon project. This is because it must be demonstrated that project implementation enriches the property’s carbon stocks more than what would be expected under the status quo.

If a property already has a conservation easement in place which limits/forbids management or harvesting, then implementing a carbon project would not enrich the property’s carbon stocks more than the easement already in place. There may be some flexibility if the easement was put in place under year from the start date of the carbon project.

Please note that this is not always the case, but it often is. If you are unsure, submit an application anyway and provide a copy of the easement. The analyst assigned to your case can determine your eligibility further.

 

Can I place a conservation easement on my property after I have started a forest carbon project?

Yes, you can place a conservation easement on your property after project commencement. However, if you are considering an easement, we recommend placing a conservation easement on your property (or part of your property) at the start of your forest carbon project as it lowers the risk associated with your project. This, in turn, can directly affect your project’s crediting. Undertaking this sooner rather than later allows access to an increased number of credits (and in turn, an increased annual payment) sooner in the project lifetime. We can help facilitate this process during project development.

Our land is federally recognized tribal land. Does this make it ineligible for a carbon project through Forest Carbon Works?

Tribal land is eligible for participation in Forest Carbon Works, although it does require a limited waiver of sovereign immunity which must include a consent to suit by ARB in California state courts. Tribal lands are defined as the following: land that is owned by, or subject to, an ownership or possessory interest of the Tribe; land that is “Indian lands” of the Tribe, as defined by 25 U.S.C. §81(a)(1); or land owned by any person, entity, or Tribe, within the external borders of such Indian lands.  More information can be found here.

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