UC Davis - American Forests Magazine Autumn 2012

Campus of University of California, Davis. Credit: Prayitno/Flickr

Gerry Gray, Ph.D., Senior Vice President

As part of American Forests’ current partnership with the U.S. Forest Service on urban forests, this summer, we co-sponsored a workshop on “Carbon Offsets & the Urban Forests” at the University of California, Davis. The workshop brought together about 100 urban forest stakeholders from diverse organizations around California to build a common understanding of the state’s emerging carbon offset market and the potential for urban forest projects to participate through California’s urban forest project protocol.

Melinda Housholder, the director of our urban forests program, and I attended the workshop, where I made a presentation describing how American Forests can assist with carbon-offset initiatives and help bring the lessons and challenges from the workshop to broader audiences. A goal of the workshop was to begin a broader dialogue concerning opportunities for urban forest projects to help mitigate carbon emissions. Dr. Greg McPherson, a U.S. Forest Service research forester and a member of American Forests Science Advisory Board, played a lead role in organizing both the workshop and the follow-up strategies.

As a result of the discussions at the workshop, American Forests is looking to initiate a “community of practice,” through which participants would help build a body of knowledge and advance a collective agenda on urban forests and carbon benefits. In addition, as part of American Forests’ commitment to bring information from the workshop to broader audiences, I prepared a paper — co-authored with McPherson and fellow American Forests Science Advisory Board member Cecilia Danks — and made a presentation on “Opportunities for Urban Forest Projects in California’s Carbon Markets” at the Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Portland, Ore., that attracted more than 350 scientists and practitioners from around the world.

I’m continuing to travel throughout the country this fall to conferences and workshops to build dialog on how urban forests can participate in carbon-offset programs.