Forest Carbon Action Group

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Mission of the Forest Carbon Action Group:

The mission of the Forest Carbon Action Group is to build our base of knowledge and resources in order to educate, encourage and assist landowners to manage their forests for carbon storage and sequestration. We hope to explore— with legislators and forestry officials—ways that Vermont State programs can improve conservation efforts while also encouraging landowners to earn income by selling carbon credits. We are also studying ways to help owners of smaller parcels to aggregate their forest lands so that they can participate in carbon credit programs that enable them to conserve forests while earning income. The Forest Carbon Action Group usually meets on the 3rd Monday of each month at 5:30pm. At the current time, these meetings are being conducted virtually via Zoom. For information about our next meeting, please contact: programs@sustainablewoodstock.org

What is Carbon/CO2?

Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, it is a common element for all life on earth, it is the second most abundant element in the human body, and it is also greenhouse gas, but how much do we all know about this essential element?

 

Managing Forests to Sequester and Store Carbon

Dr. Keeton giving a presentation about managing forests for carbon storage and sequestration.

Dr. Keeton giving a presentation about managing forests for carbon storage and sequestration.

In August of 2017 Sustainable Woodstock worked in conjunction with the Vermont Coverts, the Vermont Woodlands Association, and the National Park Service’s Working Woodlands Workshop program to bring Dr. William Keeton to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park. Dr. Keeton gave a presentation about his long term ecological research on managing forests for carbon storage and sequestration. You can watch the presentation here.

Workshop attendees practice measuring the circumference of a tree to determine how much stored carbon it has.

Workshop attendees practice measuring the circumference of a tree to determine how much stored carbon it has.

With over 60 people in attendance Dr. Keeton gave a very in-depth presentation on his research findings and then took participants on a tour of his monitoring plots on Mt. Tom in Woodstock, VT to demonstrate the different techniques for measuring stored carbon.The outstanding attendance and interest from land owners, professionals and practitioners motivated us to create an 8 month long work-study discussion series focused on building communal support and understanding the different aspects of not only why we should manage our forests but why and how we can manage them for carbon storage and sequestration.

 

Resources

Carbon Storage and Sequestration: “The Basics” Powerpoint Slides – By Zachariah Ralph

Tim Stout’s Carbon Project in Shrewsbury! Powerpoint Slides- By Tim Stout

US Forest Offset Projects Presentation- California Air Resource Board

Land Management Plan Coolidge East

Carbon Work-Study Series

In 2018, Sustainable Woodstock conducted a work-study series about carbon and how we can help manage carbon on our own properties through healthy forestry practices. The series was inspired by the passions of a local Plymouth resident, Lynn Peterson, and by the research being conducted by UVM professor and scientist, Dr. William Keeton, of the UVM Rubenstein School.

For each meeting there was a 45 minute presentation from the presenter and then 45 minutes for discussion. We sent out recommended reading material before each meeting to give some content and background information about the presenter and their topics.

Series Presentations (2018)

Feb 3rd History of Forest Management Woodstock- Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller
Presenter: Vikke Jas
Description: For our first Work-Study Group discussion Vikke Vas from Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park presented and led a discussion about the history of conservation in Woodstock and how unsustainable deforestation of Vermont led to a legacy of conservation and the longest managed forest in the United States.

View the video of the presentation here;

Feb. 24th(Calendar) Different Perspectives of the Forest
Presenters: Land Owner (Lynn Peterson), Forester (AJ Follensbee), Logger(John Alder)
Description:  A local landowner, Lynn Peterson, a local logger, John Adler, and the Windsor County Forester, AJ Follensbee, delved into their different perspectives of the forest. Looking at the objectives of these individuals and industries and through informed discussions we explored ways to balance the economic needs of our state with the need for more conservation.

View the video of the presentation here;

Brian Woods, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Air Quality and Climate Division

Brian Woods, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Air Quality and Climate Division

Mar. 17th(Calendar) Compliance Carbon Markets- Regional Green House Gas Initiative(RGGI)
Presenter: Brian Woods, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Air Quality and Climate Division
Description:  Carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere have long-term effects that are not recognized in the short-term market price of fossil fuels. Traditional pollutant regulation sets limits on individual emitters, which may or may not result in overall emissions reductions and may not be economically optimal. One approach that policymakers can utilize is to impose a price on carbon dioxide/greenhouse gas emissions that attempts to internalize these external future costs.  Mr. Woods will discuss various approaches to carbon pricing with a focus on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

View the video of the presentation here;

Below are some resources and references from the presentation:
Vermont Greenhouse Gas Emissions inventory Update reports http://dec.vermont.gov/air-quality/climate-change
RGGI Inc. web site http://www.rggi.org
California Air Resources Board Cap-and-Trade https://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/capandtrade.htm
MJ Bradley – A Pioneering Approach to Carbon Markets https://www.mjbradley.com/rggi-market
Resources for the Future http://www.rff.org/research/subtopics/rggi
Acadia Center – Outpacing the Nation https://acadiacenter.org/document/outpacing-the-nation-rggi/
Abt Associates – Public Health Benefits of RGGI http://abtassociates.com/RGGI
April 21st (Calendar) The Negative Impacts of Forest Fragmentation
Presenters: Kevin W. Geiger, Senior Planner with TRORC and Monica Przyperhart, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
Description: Recent research has shown that since 2012 Vermont forest lands have been in decline. This is a reversal of a trend of regrowth over the last 100 years. Much of the deforestation has been due to development and forest fragmentation from new homes being built. Forest fragmentation decreases our state’s resiliency against natural disasters, and disrupts wildlife habitats among many other things. Join us for a discussion with the Two Rivers Regional Planning Commission, and the VT Fish and Wildlife department to learn why it is so important that we conserve our forests and prevent forest fragmentation.

See the video here:

AJ Follensbee, Windsor County Forester

AJ Follensbee, Windsor County Forester

May 19th (Calendar) Current use and Use Value Appraisal (UVA) Policies
Presenter: AJ Follensbee, Windsor County Forester
Description: UVA or “Current Use” was created as a mechanism to keep Vermont’s agricultural and forested land in use by creating a tax policy based on the use of the land as opposed to its market value. The program has successfully enrolled almost one third of Vermont land, keeping it in use and providing an economic stimulus for many Vermonters. The challenge is determining how we balance the needs of our economy and Vermont livelihoods with the need to increase conservation and carbon sequestration and storage.

View Video of the Presentation Below:

 

 

 

Dr. William Keeton, Spactial Informatic Group(SIG), UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

Dr. William Keeton, Spatial Informatic Group (SIG), UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

June 16th (Calendar) Forest Carbon Market Analysis and Assessment of Opportunities for Vermont’s Private Forestland Owners

Presenter: Dr. William Keeton, Spatial Informatic Group (SIG), UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
Description: The prevailing thought among environmentalist was that forest ecosystems take care of themselves best when left alone. Dr. Keeton’s long term research has shown that it is possible to manage forests in a way that sequesters and stores carbon almost as much as if it were left alone.  Join us for a discussion with Dr. Keeton as he talks about his research, his recently completed carbon assessment of VT forests, and his project with his company, SIG, in North West Vermont to aggregate land owners into a larger carbon credit scheme.

You can read Dr. Keeton’s final report, “Forest Carbon Market Analysis and Assessment of Opportunities for Vermont’s Private Forestland Owners,” by following this link Vermont Forest Carbon Feasibility Study_Keeton et al. 2018_Final .

View the video of the presentations below:

Ashley Lang, PhD candidate in the Ecology, Evolution, Ecosystems, and Society graduate program at Dartmouth College

Ashley Lang, PhD candidate in the Ecology, Evolution, Ecosystems, and Society graduate program at Dartmouth College

July 21st (Calendar) The Role of Fungi in Storing and Sequestering Carbon
Presenter: Ashley Lang, PhD candidate in the Ecology, Evolution, Ecosystems, and Society graduate program at Dartmouth College
Description: Mushrooms play an important role in many ecosystems, and their role with carbon is no different. Ashley Lang talked about the two main kinds of fungi in forests (decomposers and mycorrhizal fungi), how they operate, how they impact soil carbon storage, and how much carbon they sequester in soil compared to carbon released to the atmosphere from human activity. We also discussed how different ecosystems have different amounts of soil carbon and why.

Here is some suggested study material about Mycorrhiza-mediated competition between plants, Averill Turner and Finzi Nature 2014.

See Ashley Lang’s PowerPoint presentation here.

View the video of the presentations below:

David Publicover, Senior Staff Scientist/Assistant Research Director with the Appalachian Mountain Club

David Publicover, Senior Staff Scientist/Assistant Research Director with the Appalachian Mountain Club

Aug. 18th (Calendar) Appalachian Mountain Club Managed Forest for Carbon in Maine 
Presenter:  David Publicover, Senior Staff Scientist/Assistant Research Director with the Appalachian Mountain Club
Description: The Appalachian Mountain Club recently set aside 10,000 acres of forest land in Maine in a 100 year management plan for carbon storage and sequestration. The carbon credits will be sold in the Californian Compliance Market earning money for continued conservation efforts in Maine. The management plan equates to “100,000 tons of atmospheric carbon reductions, or the equivalent of taking 21,000 gasoline-powered cars off the road.”- Article. Learn more about this project and how lessons learned from this management plan can be applied locally.

 

Check out Dave’s Powerpoint presentation here!

 

View a video of the presentation below;

 

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SIP Dartmouth Final- Review of Coolidge Forest Management Plan

 

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