Why Carbon Finance?

To avoid the worst effects of climate change and biodiversity loss, world leaders, scientists, corporations and activists agree the world needs to dramatically reduce and remove carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere. 

Climate-smart reforestation is the most effective and lowest-cost nature-based pathway to capture carbon dioxide and prevent further global warming, while creating forests better adapted to climate change. Healthy forests mitigate climate change by absorbing and storing carbon in their roots, wood, bark and soil. In fact, in 2021, U.S. forests and forest products captured and stored nearly 775 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, enough to offset 16.7% of carbon emissions from fossil fuels in the same year. While experts agree we cannot meet our global climate goals without significant contribution from forests, high upfront costs can often be a barrier to reforestation. 

The Reforest America Carbon Program connects climate-smart reforestation projects with the funding and tools to restore healthy forests to public, private and tribal lands. Utilizing markets for climate, biodiversity and other ecosystem services, the program offers solutions to barriers that have traditionally limited carbon financed reforestation, especially the challenge of high upfront costs coupled with lengthy timelines of tree growth and associated carbon benefits.  

The program values transparency and integrity, using the most rigorous carbon accounting methodologies and approaches, including a dynamic, observed baseline that ensures only the carbon attributable to the presence of Reforest America Carbon Program is third-party verified as additional. 

A clear pathway to meet climate change mitigation goals 

For organizations seeking to contribute to natural climate solutions and remove carbon from the atmosphere, Reforest America Carbon Program offers: 

  • High integrity carbon removal credits from reforestation projects across the U.S., including in areas burned by large, high-severity wildfire in the western U.S. and biodiverse tropical forests in Hawaii. 
  • A reliable stream of carbon credits to meet climate mitigation and resilience goals. 
  • Opportunity to support climate-smart reforestation on public, private and tribal lands. 

A novel solution for landowners 

For public land management agencies, private and tribal landowners, the Reforest America Carbon Program provides access to financial and technical resources needed to design and implement climate-adapted reforestation projects that meet landowner-specific social, cultural and ecological goals. The program provides: 

  • Upfront finance to cover high initial reforestation costs (I.e., seedlings, labor, site prep). 
  • Climate-smart reforestation planning support and guidance. 
  • A pathway to accelerate reforestation and avoid land type conversion after severe disturbances. 

In March of 2024, the USDA Forest Service awarded American Forests $12M to help tribes, Native Hawaiians and other underserved communities access financial and technical support for resilient reforestation. Through this award, we are working with underserved forest owners to help them participate in emerging private markets that offer new sources of revenue for restoring healthy, resilient forests. American Forests is also providing climate-informed technical reforestation assistance to underserved landowners undertaking resilient restoration projects.

Are you an organization looking to support natural climate solutions or a landowner in need of reforestation assistance? 

Contact Ben Rushakoff, Director, Restoration Partnerships & Innovation, to learn more about the Reforest America Carbon Program: brushakoff@americanforests.org