By: The Working Forest Staff
KEMPTVILLE, ONTARIO — Last year, the Eastern Ontario Model Forest (EOMF) partnered with Bluesource Canada to help forest certification members such as Bruce County navigate through the complexity of carbon credit development, verification, and marketing. In the partnership, the EOMF and Bluesource Canada provide guidance to those community forests that are interested in pursuing the opportunity
Bruce County has a long history of sustainable forest management. In the early to mid-1900s, the County began purchasing privately owned lands that were devastated by overharvesting or land clearing. These marginal lands were replanted mainly with conifers (evergreens) and managed to promote a natural forest condition, consisting of both hardwoods and conifers. In 2017 Bruce County achieved Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification (FSC® C01880) through the EOMF.
“The County is the first public sector forest owner in the province of Ontario to respond to the global climate crisis in this way, and we are proud of our meaningful response to the international rally cry from the 2015 Paris Accord,” said Warden Mitch Twolan.
Once a forest owner decides to move forward with a carbon offset project, one of their first steps is to become certified, making the EOMF an ideal starting point for community forests interested in this opportunity. The EOMF has been promoting sustainable forest management since its inception in 1992 and is a leader in private land forest certification. It started its Certification Program in 2002 and currently holds a Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certificate (FSC® C018800) for over 82,000 ha of private forest lands in Ontario including community forests, commercial forest owners, maple syrup producers, and private woodlots.
“The signing of the agreement between Bluesource Canada and the County of Bruce is a significant landmark for the EOMF and an opportunity for other Community Forests in Ontario”. She added that “Aside from helping to combat climate change, the development of carbon offsets will also contribute to a host of other ecosystem benefits such as clean drinking water, healthy wildlife habitats, and recreational opportunities. These benefits will be realized while maintaining a vibrant forest economy,” said Astrid Nielsen, general manager at the EOMF.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air – a process that helps to slow climate change. Forest owners, such as Bruce County, who go beyond common practice forest management and commit to a high standard of sustainable growth of the forestry inventory over the longer-term, can get credit for this additional commitment. These credits can then be purchased by carbon emitters. The partnership shall see the County of Bruce and Bluesource bring the sale of carbon credits to market through project assessment and screening, project development validation and verification, registration, marketing, and monetization.
Bluesource Canada is the leading carbon offset developer in North America and is recognized as such by clients and industry peers in the Environmental Finance rankings. It has the forestry and market expertise to help evaluate options for forest owners across North America and generate value in diverse carbon markets by developing and monetizing offsets on their behalf.
“We are thrilled by Bruce County’s leadership and we look forward to working with the County to realize the forest carbon offset opportunity. We are also confident that the carbon market can provide many more landowners with a monetary incentive that meaningfully rewards landowner commitments to sustainable forest management,” said Jamie MacKinnon, VP of Environmental Solutions at Bluesource Canada.