Clemson announces carbon market workshop in Upstate for forest landowners

CLEMSON – Clemson Cooperative Extension experts are holding a workshop in the Upstate to show South Carolina forest landowners how they can create a new revenue stream and help combat climate change by participating in the carbon market.

Marzieh Motallebi, an assistant professor at Clemson’s Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, said the workshop will inform landowners about the amount of carbon sequestered due to various forest management activities. Carbon sequestration occurs when carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere. Forest best management practices not only might increase carbon sequestration but also can help with enhancing wildlife habitat, improving soil quality and conserving biodiversity.

Forest owners will learn how they can generate and trade carbon offsets, also known as carbon credits.

“We are going to talk about the benefits of joining the carbon market for landowners,” Motallebi said. “We want to show forest landowners how they potentially can be sellers of carbon credits from their forest areas.”

A fact sheet, Carbon Offsets for South Carolina Family Forest Landowners, written by Motallebi and Clemson postdoctoral researchers Mustapha Alhassan and Hamed Majidzadeh, explains carbon offsets and why they are important.

“By participating in the carbon market, South Carolina family forest owners will have an opportunity to reduce climate change impacts if they decide to generate and sell forest offsets,” Motallebi said.

In addition to Motallebi, who will talk about the good and bad aspects of the carbon market, Sarah Wescott, climate program manager of the Climate Action Reserve in California, will talk about conservation and monetary aspects of the program.

“The carbon offset program probably will be of most interest to South Carolina landowners who have some conservation-based goals,” Wescott said. “The program also can be great for providing long-term funding into the future via the sale of carbon credits, so this aspect may be appealing to landowners who have considered how their properties will be sustainably managed into the future.”

Other guest speakers include Hunter Parks, founder and chairman of Green Assets, and Michael Dawson, center director of the Audubon Center Sanctuary-Francis Beidler Forest. Parks will talk about the carbon market mechanism and how this market functions. Dawson will talk about South Carolina’s experience in the carbon market.

Some forest projects in South Carolina already have sold carbon credits in the California carbon market through carbon developers. The Francis Beidler Forest sold about 450,000 carbon credits for no less than $8 per credit in California’s carbon market in 2014 through a San Francisco carbon developer company. Brookgreen Gardens also sold 162,551 carbon credits in California’s carbon market in 2015 through the Green Assets carbon developer company.