We are now working with a group of Early Adopter projects and buyers/funders. The Early Adopter group is not focused just on single projects but on developing a longer-term program that can connect city forests with a new type of funding. Here are a few examples. They each have their own story, part of the rich tapestry of America’s urban forests and the people who both live within and manage this critical and under-funded public resource.
Austin, TX: In 2007 The Austin City Council adopted a goal of carbon neutral City Operations by 2020. The City has been implementing greenhouse gas reduction plans for years, but to be entirely carbon neutral the City will need to utilize carbon offsets. The City of Austin is interested in locally sourced carbon credits so that their carbon dollars and the environmental benefits from those dollars stay local. The Austin Climate Program Manager served on our protocol drafting group, and we are beginning to work with urban forest stakeholders in Austin to assess larger-scale urban forest carbon projects that could generate significant volumes of CO₂ storage.
Pittsburgh, PA: A group of conservancy organizations has been working for over four years to preserve from development a large, 660-acre parcel of forested land in the City of Pittsburgh. We have had detailed discussions with the groups as they work to preserve not just the land, but the trees as well. A preservation carbon project could help preserve the trees, generate revenues for maintenance, demonstrate stewardship, and keep the many benefits of trees for the residents of the city. Beyond this specific parcel, the group is also exploring the opportunities to use the Registry’s Preservation and Planting protocols to seek long-term protection and management of the Pittsburgh urban forest within its park and greenways system, where the urban forests are not specifically protected or systematically managed (beyond health and safety issues) in a manner that supports climate planning, resilience, and longevity.
Seattle area: Stakeholders for a planting project in the City of Shoreline, WA include a prominent local conservancy organization, the Mountains to Sound Greenway, and Bank of America. The project will clear invasive growth and plant over several phases 3,000 trees in a public open space that is next to a subsidized housing facility. Also in Shoreline, Carter Subaru, a local dealership, is interested in buying City Forest Carbon+ credits as a complement to its Road to Carbon Neutral program, in which it partners with the Greenway to plant trees for every Subaru test-driven and purchased.
King County, WA: We are working with King County on a large-scale preservation program in the Seattle urban area. King County’s program is part of the County’s Land Conservation Initiative. The County and its dozens of cities are working to accelerate protection of open space and creation of parks and trails to meet the needs of a rapidly-growing Seattle metro area. This collaborative effort has identified hundreds of at-risk forested parcels on thousands of acres of land throughout the Seattle urban area, in addition to tens of thousands of acres of upper-watershed lands.
Clackamas County, OR: A group of urban lumber stakeholders and the County have been studying the feasibility of a county-wide urban lumber project. Mapping revealed over 1,200 acres of municipal land that was bare and could support contiguously planted trees grown for a longer-term harvest. Planting 100 trees per acre would total over 120,000 urban trees. Harvest revenues 50 years away may not be enough to launch the project, but carbon revenues may change the equation.
Other early adopter stakeholders include San Francisco, Dallas, and Palo Alto.
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