American Forests is thrilled to introduce the Reforest America Carbon Program — an exciting new opportunity for public, private, and tribal land managers to access carbon finance in order to plant and maintain climate-adapted carbon-rich forests that remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Since 1990, American Forests has been leading financing innovations to scale-up reforestation including the “dollar per tree” model that allows corporations and individuals to directly support reforestation projects and carbon markets for urban forests through City Forest Credits. All told, we have used these innovations to work with hundreds of partners across the country to reforest over 150,000 acres with 67 million trees. While we are proud of this accomplishment, we know that the climate driven threats facing forests means that we need to dramatically scale up our collective investments in reforestation. This is why we are announcing our Reforest America Carbon Program.
Meeting the Moment
As demonstrated at COP26, world leaders, scientists, corporations, and activists agree that the world needs to not only dramatically slash greenhouse gas emissions, but also actively remove these gases from the atmosphere to stave off the worst effects of climate change, and meet global climate change goals to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C. While carbon finance is already a vital and widely used tool for protecting existing forests or improving their management to combat climate change, only a handful of reforestation projects have successfully accessed carbon financing. The slow progress on carbon financed reforestation is owed primarily to the fact that it often takes decades for projects to deliver a significant quantity of marketable carbon. Nevertheless, reforestation is the largest and lowest-cost pathway to removing carbon pollution from the atmosphere. There is ample opportunity for reforestation in the United States to play a key role in removing greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, with an estimated 133 million acres of former forest suitable for restoration.
Despite the significant opportunity and growing need, reforestation can be expensive, involving the need to fund a diverse set of activities over several years. With the growing size, scale, frequency, and intensity of forest disturbances like wildfires, it is increasingly challenging for land managers and landowners to meet their reforestation needs with traditional financial mechanisms.
American Forests has worked with landowners, forest carbon experts, carbon registries, and businesses to design our Reforest America Carbon Program to help meet the country’s growing reforestation needs. For selling landowners, they garner the resources for reforestation that are not otherwise available. For carbon buyers, the program guarantees a pathway to generating verified emission reductions and reduces risk to the regenerating forest by integrating climate adaptation measures directly into carbon mitigation actions.
In partnership with corporations, landowners, and carbon registries, American Forests’ goal is to reforest one million acres with over 250 million trees on public, private, and tribal forestlands by 2030 using our innovative carbon finance approach. We are currently developing a unique portfolio of climate-adapted reforestation projects with public land management agencies and private landowners who do not have access to the necessary funding to reforest severely burned lands in the western United States. We are also pursuing opportunities with partners in other geographies throughout North America facing other challenges.
At the core of the Reforest America Carbon Program is our commitment to use only the best and latest science-based reforestation carbon methodologies built around robust and transparent carbon accounting. Similarly, we are working to ensure that all forward carbon purchases are delivered in a way that manages risks of underperformance, going beyond traditional buffer pool contributions widely used in the voluntary carbon market.
For companies seeking nature-based climate solutions, the Reforest America Carbon Program offers:
- Emission reductions claimable for net-zero and other forward looking commitments
- A future stream of verified emissions reductions from trusted carbon registries
- A catalytic role in scaling up reforestation across the United States
- Opportunity to support climate-smart reforestation on public, private, and tribal lands
For landowners in need of reforestation assistance, the Reforest America Carbon Program offers:
- Upfront finance to cover high initial reforestation costs (i.e., seedlings, labor, site preparation)
- Climate-smart reforestation planning support and guidance
- A pathway to avoid land type conversion after severe disturbances and accelerate reforestation
The Reforest America Carbon Program is currently designing projects with public, private and tribal landowners in severely burned forest landscapes across the West. If you are a forest landowner or land manager and are interested in learning more about the Reforest America Carbon Program and carbon finance opportunities, please contact Ben Rushakoff at email@example.com.