For years, timber harvests and development opportunities have been a source of income for landowners worldwide. Carbon credits are changing that.
One metric ton of carbon is offset from the atmosphere for every carbon credit purchased. This happens through an environmental project, such as reforestation.
The more carbon credits purchased, the greener a company can be – which is why the industry is booming.
But there is another benefit here.
Revenue from carbon offsets could provide $250 billion annually for conservation efforts.
This means landowners can now receive compensation for conserving land instead of destroying it. So, carbon credits may, in fact, encourage conservation.
For land to qualify, it must be at risk of harvest or conversion. Landowners then sign an agreement to ensure they are committed to seeing these environmental projects through.
This makes sure that landowners are in it for the long haul. They cannot just sign up and then sell out.
According to the World Economic Forum, forest carbon projects undergo an intense verification process to help meet goals. It takes almost two years before their credits even hit the marketplace. So, the incentive to stick with this long-term is there.
There are decades of research used to let us know just how much carbon can be sequestered through a forest.
Then, a year after landowners sign their agreement, tree growth is checked to see if it is on track with projections. Only then are carbon credits issued.
Critics have always claimed that the lack of oversight within the carbon credit industry was why they could not support it.
However, increased ways to verify carbon sequestration are beginning to change that. Plus, leaders at COP26 have agreed on a global standard, putting many concerns to rest.
As more landowners take on sustainable forest projects, conservation has a chance.