First carbon forestry project in the works for P.E.I.
January 5, 2024 By Caitlin Coombes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
An alliance of Prince Edward Island woodlot owners is looking to begin the province’s first carbon forestry project this year.
The Sustainable Forest Alliance (SFA) is holding information sessions across P.E.I. for interested woodlot owners in advance of the project, which is planned for March.
The last session of 2023 was held on Dec. 15 at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown as a joint presentation on carbon by the SFA and the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture.
SFA president Dan Dupont told SaltWire that 10,000 acres is the goal for this first project, and the SFA is well on its way to achieving that goal.
“We’ve completed over 6,000 acres of plans, and we have enough members for well over 10,000, but we are still collecting data,” Dupont told SaltWire on Dec. 20.
Did you know?
• One carbon credit is the equivalent of one tonne of CO2. Companies that have made net zero commitments may purchase carbon credits from projects in order to offset their environmental emissions.
• In 2022, the Carbon Credit Market was valued at $87.9 billion worldwide and is a steadily growing trading system for the purchase of carbon credits.
• When a new carbon project enters the market, credits equivalent to the project are provided to the group, which is then responsible for trading and managing the credits on the market.
Since its conception in May 2023, the SFA has been working closely with Eastern Forest Solutions to create management plans for those woodlots interested in participating in the first carbon credit project in the province.
To take part in the carbon forestry project, P.E.I. woodlot owners register with the SFA and agree to follow a forestry management plan unique to their land that would be created by Eastern Forest Solutions.
Thomas Baglole, an SFA member and the president of Eastern Forest Solutions, spoke at the Dec. 15 session about the standards and requirements for carbon projects.
“Once you join a carbon project, there’s pretty high standards put upon you, and if you want to do commercial harvesting – and the SFA does value active forestry – then you are required to have a certified woodlot management plan,” Baglole said.
A possible partner to the SFA project is the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association, a certified organization that has an active carbon credit project in Nova Scotia.
The Nova Scotia project is certified to international standards, and by partnering with the SFA that certification would then extend to SFA members in P.E.I.
The SFA has already seen significant support and growth and presently has an estimated 6,000 acres of forestry prepared for the 2024 carbon project.
The management plans provided by Eastern Forest Solutions will encourage and guide woodlot owners to improve their woodlots over the years, both to benefit their potential carbon credit income and improve the overall health of the forest.
The carbon credits produced by members of the SFA will be managed by Eastern Forest Solutions, with Baglole acting as a carbon broker.
“In your management plan will be a carbon spreadsheet, and you’ll want to manage it in a fashion that increases carbon sequestration and storage for the future,” Dupont said.
When a woodlot owner enters a carbon project, they do not need to be responsible for managing carbon credit sales or engaging with the carbon market for anything more than curiosity’s sake.
“You’re working with the SFA and EFS to extract the most economic value from your forest and do it for the long term,” Dupont said.
The exact monetary value of carbon credits involved in the project is yet to be determined, due to adjustments in the Carbon Credit Market and the exact size of the P.E.I. Carbon Project.
The SFA is working with interested woodlot owners to provide management plans and carbon accounting to inform woodlot owners of options available for their forests both in the project and as members of the SFA in general.
“The more of a continuous stretch of forest we can have, the more an ecosystem can flourish,” Dupont said.
Forestry management may differ from region to region across the province, and forest management plans may vary from woodlot to woodlot.
“What you have to do to sell carbon has to be better than what you are legally required to do or what your neighbour would be doing,” Baglole told attendees.
Trees lost in 2022’s post-tropical storm Fiona will not impact carbon accounting for this project, as those trees have already stored carbon and are still an important part of the woodlot’s ecosystem.
The SFA will continue to draw up plans for woodlot owners and provide information to interested woodlot owners into the new year.
Caitlin Coombes is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter for The Guardian.
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