New concept paper outlines key questions to be answered by US Endowment-backed research into forest carbon offset market, which is expected to surge to US$250B by 2050; paper considers effects of increased offset demand on other forest products, habitats

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GREENVILLE, South Carolina , January 24, 2024 (press release) –

Concept Paper Examines Forest Carbon Market Impact on Forest-Dependent Communities and Forest Health

A U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities’ Grant Funds Research by Dovetail Partners in Collaboration with Cambium Consulting

A newly released concept paper outlines key questions to be answered by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities’ (Endowment) backed research into the forest carbon offset market, which is expected to surge from $2 billion in 2020 to $250 billion by 2050.

The paper considers the potential economic, ecological and social implications of increased offset demand on other forest-based products, habitats, and the local communities that rely on forests for jobs, tax revenue and quality of life.

Already, banks and joint ventures have purchased millions of acres of timberland as demand for offsets grow, which could lead to unknown impacts downstream for forest-dependent communities and forest health. 

To maximize positive outcomes and minimize negative ones, the Endowment issued a grant to Dovetail Partners in collaboration with Cambium Consulting to conduct research into the impact of escalating offset demand.

“Carbon offsets allow businesses to take near-term action to meet long-term sustainability goals,” said Pete Madden, President and CEO, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “While positive in many ways, this research seeks to create a shared understanding of the potential impact on matters like wood availability and sustainable forest management.” 

“Our goal with this paper is to create an opportunity for more dialogue, and to inform the next three phases of research: surveying stakeholders, developing mapping strategies and conducting a workshop later this year,” said Kathryn Fernholz, President, Dovetail Partners. “Once research is complete, we will have a much clearer idea of what is already working well, and what needs to change to benefit both forests and the communities that rely on them.”

Key questions addressed in the paper include:

  • Where there are forests with overlapping objectives, are there existing or potential conflicts in value attainment, and what tools can be developed to help identify competing priorities and balance trade-offs?
  • Are the existing forest carbon offset protocols sufficient to ensure rural communities and biodiversity are appropriately addressed in the design and implementation of forest carbon projects?
  • Are we missing opportunities to share perspectives, elevate awareness, and integrate critical thinking (and action) among the full spectrum of stakeholders?

About the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities:
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is a not-for-profit public charity collaborating with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities. To learn more about the Endowment, please visit our website at www.usendowment.org.

About Dovetail Partners:
Dovetail Partners is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization providing authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental management, including consumption choices, land use decisions, and policy alternatives. Dovetail’s highly skilled team fosters sustainability and responsible behaviors through collaboration to develop unique concepts, systems, models, and programs.  We also help define programs that increase the job creation and the job quality of resource-based industries. Learn more at dovetailinc.org.

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