Boyertown, Pennsylvania (April 11, 2023) – ClimeCo is excited to announce that the BigCoast Forest Climate Initiative (BigCoast Forest) carbon offsets, which offer solid additionality in forest protection, have been issued under Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard after a comprehensive independent verification and validation process. A limited volume is still available and ready for immediate delivery.
BigCoast Forest is a North American, nature-based forest carbon initiative located on over 100,000 acres of private land in Coastal British Columbia. This high-quality initiative is the largest of its kind in Canada, deferring harvest for 25 years and potentially longer. Its benefits go beyond just carbon credits. The forest contains and protects important ecosystems, drinking watersheds, and lands culturally significant to coastal First Nations. A portion of revenue derived from the initiative will flow to the Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) Innovation Program and the Pacific Salmon Foundation, to enable cultural and scientific research on and around the project lands.
The forest land associated with this initiative is considered an “old-forest” (80%) temperate rainforest, which contributes to a regional ecosystem home to bears, elk, salmon, orca, marbled murrelet, and more. The initiative also contributes to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG 13 – Climate Action, SDG 14 – Life Below Water, and SDG 15 – Life on Land.
The BigCoast Forest Climate Initiative is in the business of sustainable forest stewardship, preserving timberland in Coastal British Columbia. BigCoast Forest brings high-quality, large-scale, nature-based carbon credits to a growing international market. The initiative is committed to achieving positive economic, social and sustainability outcomes from the working forest and the communities in which it is a part. For more information, visit BigCoastForest.com.
ClimeCo is a respected global advisor, transaction facilitator, trader, and developer of environmental commodity market products and related solutions. We specialize in voluntary carbon, regulated carbon, renewable energy credits, plastics credits, and regional criteria pollutant trading programs. Complimenting these programs is a team of professionals skilled in providing sustainability program management solutions and developing and financing of GHG abatement and mitigation systems.
For more information or to discuss how ClimeCo can drive value for your organization, contact us at +1 484.415.0501, email@example.com, or through our website climeco.com. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using our handle, @ClimeCo.
Every road paved through a forest causes habitat fragmentation.
The resources necessary to sustain an ever-increasing human population have placed an unprecedented burden on the world’s biodiversity. Satellite imagery of our planet reveals the devastating effects human development has imposed on the natural world. Our blue and green planet is becoming a mosaic of disappearing ecosystems, each a semblance of the natural habitat that once was. Roads, crop fields, and other human impositions permeate the natural world, creating small segments of habitat where a lucky few species remain. The process whereby large swathes of contiguous habitat are segmented into smaller “islands” of lower-quality ecosystems is called habitat fragmentation.
The Drivers of Habitat Fragmentation
Habitat fragmentation is occurring at an alarming rate across the globe. While natural events such as volcanic eruptions and fires can fragment habitats, the primary driver of habitat fragmentation today is human development. Every road paved through a forest or fenceline driven across a grassland is a perpetrator of habitat fragmentation. Each incursion imposes an artificial edge within the natural habitat that came before. A recent study illustrates the sheer scale on which habitat fragmentation is occurring, estimating that 70% of the world’s remaining forests are within one kilometer of the forest’s edge.
Songbirds are an example of an edge species that have adapted to survive on the forest’s edge.
The Impacts of Habitat Fragmentation
An ecosystem is a fragile complexity that depends on the existence of each individual organism residing within the system. Seemingly isolated individuals and functions are interwoven components of a much larger system, intricately strung together like a spiderweb. An ecosystem is truly a whole greater than the sum of its parts, with each individual organism performing a function critical to the existence of the interwoven system. When contiguous habitat is divided into smaller fragments, the integrity of the entire system is compromised. The remaining patches of habitat will not be able to recreate the complexity of the larger system it was once a part of.
Fragmented landscapes alter ecosystem dynamics to favor the survival of certain species over others. So-called “edge species” have adapted to survive in the boundary areas between ecosystems, also known as ecotones. Songbirds are one such example. Nesting in the trees of the forest while feeding in the open lawns of our backyards, the songbird’s survival depends on the presence of a forest edge. Edge species tend to have much higher population densities in the ecotone in comparison to the interior of the habitat, a phenomenon known as the edge effect. While these species have evolved to survive in the transitional boundary zones where two ecosystems collide, other species are specifically adapted to the conditions of the interior habitat. Habitat fragmentation creates edges that expose “interior species” to edge conditions for which they are not well adapted. Therefore, the process of habitat fragmentation favors the survival of edge species at the expense of the species adapted to the habitat interior.
Habitat fragmentation will accelerate the trend toward species extinction by limiting wildlife mobility. Many animal species rely on annual migrations to ensure reproduction and survival. Degraded and fragmented landscapes act as barriers along these routes and impede these cyclical migratory patterns, which are fundamental to that species’ survival. Interfering with these fundamental life-cycle behaviors increases the likelihood of a species’ extirpation and extinction. Entire populations are effectively restricted to a small “island” of their original habitat. This isolation also interferes with the evolutionary process on a genetic level. A loss of genetic diversity tends to arise in small populations and can impair a species’ ability to adapt to changing conditions. Reduced gene flow can limit the occurrence and spread of favorable traits. Finally, population size can change drastically when individual numbers are small due to natural fluctuations in birth and death rates. Fragmented landscapes and the resulting isolated populations mean species in fragmented habitats are more vulnerable to extirpation.
Fragmented landscapes create “islands” of isolated habitats.
Habitat Fragmentation and Climate Change
The natural world has showcased its spectacular ability to adapt and overcome time and time again. All life on Earth must once again adapt, this time compelled to react to a human-induced crisis. If history is any indicator, life will seek out the conditions in which it was adapted to survive. As the climate changes, entire ecosystems will migrate to more favorable regions on a global scale. Ecosystems will flee poleward to adapt to rising temperatures, starting from the equator. The polar regions will be the first victims of climate change as there will be nowhere to migrate to (hence why the polar bear has become the poster species of climate change). The tundra, which currently encircles the polar region, will migrate to replace it, while the taiga forest will replace the tundra, and so on. This will also happen in mountain ecosystems, where the tree line will migrate upslope as climatic conditions allow. Climate adaptation would unfold like this in a perfect and predictable world, but the world is far from perfect, and mother nature is notoriously unpredictable.
Wildlife corridors combat habitat fragmentation by reconnecting landscapes.
Humankind is compelling the natural world to adapt to a rapidly changing climate while simultaneously preventing it from doing just that. Fragmented landscapes impede the natural adaptive process of the world’s ecosystems. We must provide avenues for our precious biodiversity to pursue more favorable climatic conditions by designating areas for wildlife corridors. So-called wildlife corridors reconnect fragmented habitats and, when strategically placed, can facilitate climate adaptation by providing byways for climate migration. Landscape connectivity is our best asset in insulating biodiversity from the worst effects of climate change by enabling adaptive climate migration on a global scale.
The Anole Lizard is one of the many vulnerable species benefiting from ClimeCo’s wildlife corridor project in Colombia.
ClimeCo’s Partnership to Combat Habitat Fragmentation
ClimeCo has partnered with Saving Nature and UPROAR, global leaders in biodiversity conservation, to plant strategic wildlife corridors in biodiversity hotspots worldwide. Biodiversity hotspots are regions and ecosystems containing endemic species that exist nowhere else on Earth. In collaboration with a local non-profit, Bioconservancy Foundation, we are undertaking reforestation projects in the unique cloud forest habitat of the Colombian Andes mountains. The project’s first phase will restore over 550 hectares (~1350 acres) to serve as a wildlife corridor for many endangered species, including 30 IUCN-threatened bird species. Many new species have been discovered within the project area, including nine frog species, six lizard species, and seven orchid species. The olinguito, the first carnivore species discovered in the American continents since 1978, can also be found within the project area. The project is strategically located between two existing nature reserves which will serve as a large swathe of contiguous habitat to support and protect this critical biodiversity. With this reforested habitat, these species will be able to migrate upslope in response to the changing climate. This restored habitat connectivity enables landscape-scale climate resiliency and ultimately slows the alarming trends of species extinction in these biodiversity hotspots.
Creating favorable migratory conditions will be especially important in the 21st century as the entire Earth adapts to the rapidly changing climate. Reversing the trends of habitat fragmentation and ensuring landscape connectivity will slow the rate of species extinction and give our natural world a fighting chance at survival. We have a moral imperative to protect the globe’s biodiversity from a problem of our own making.
Daniel Frasca is a Program Development Associate working within the Nature-Based Solutions team at ClimeCo. Daniel is dedicated to developing ClimeCo’s diverse portfolio of nature-based solutions projects that produce tangible benefits for local communities and biodiversity.
Blue carbon includes important coastal and marine ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass meadows, and tidal marshes.
What is Blue Carbon?
On the fringes of Earth’s continents lies one of nature’s greatest climate regulation mechanisms: vast reserves of organic carbon known as blue carbon. “Blue carbon” refers to the organic carbon captured and stored in coastal and marine ecosystems and can be used to refer to the marine habitats that sequester and store carbon dioxide.
The United Nations first used the term “blue carbon” in a 2009 report that recognized the critical role some coastal and marine ecosystems play in drawing down carbon from the atmosphere. The United Nations Framework Committee on Climate Change defines blue carbon as mangroves, seagrass meadows, and tidal marshes. As the field of blue carbon grows, additional ecosystems will likely be recognized as blue carbon, a topic we will discuss in an upcoming blog.
As of late, blue carbon has become a hot topic due to the immense capacity of these ecosystems to draw down atmospheric carbon levels and provide irreplaceable ecosystem services.
The intricate root systems of mangroves on the Indonesian island of Nias provide protection from storm surge and coastal erosion for local communities.
Blue Carbon as a Climate Solution
What makes coastal and marine ecosystems different than their terrestrial equivalents? After all, aren’t all plants capable of sequestering carbon? While that may be true, blue carbon ecosystems can capture 10-50 times more carbon per unit than their land-dwelling counterparts. In fact, every year, blue carbon ecosystems bury underground a comparable amount of carbon as terrestrial forests despite occupying less than 3% of the global forest area. The open ocean is also no match for the carbon-capturing powers of coastal blue carbon ecosystems. For reference, coastal habitats represent about 2% of the oceans’ surface area yet are responsible for nearly 50% of carbon sequestered in marine sediments. These blue carbon ecosystems, nestled between the endless ocean and vast landmasses, represent a thin slice of Earth working overtime to regulate the climate.
Local Indonesian fisherman sourcing fish and shellfish in a pristine blue carbon ecosystem
How Blue Carbon Ecosystems Sequester Carbon
Coastal habitats capture carbon more effectively than their terrestrial counterparts due to their higher efficiency in converting solar energy into organic matter – often described as a high primary productivity rate. More importantly, blue carbon ecosystems trap sediment and organic matter such as leaf litter in their roots and allow that carbon to accumulate in the seabed. This process is known as “sedimentation” and accounts for 50 – 90% of all the carbon sequestered in these coastal ecosystems.
This ability to store carbon underground in soils and sediment is one of blue carbon’s most unique and essential functions. Aboveground biomass, such as the trees in a forest, will sequester and store carbon over its lifetime. However, at the end of the tree’s lifecycle, the tree will die and release carbon back into the atmosphere during the decomposition process. In contrast, belowground carbon sequestered by blue carbon ecosystems can remain undisturbed for hundreds or even thousands of years. A prime example is a seabed meadow off the coast of Spain that has accumulated over a 35-foot-thick carbon deposit over the span of 6,000 years. The stable and enduring nature of these reserves is created by the seabed’s saltwater and oxygen-deprived conditions, which slow the pace of decomposition and effectively trap carbon underground. Belowground carbon also represents a more resilient store of carbon stock as it is insulated against natural disturbances, such as fire and heavy rainfall, which are expected to become more frequent and intense as the climate continues to warm. Not only can carbon stored underground reduce the symptoms of the climate crisis, but it can also endure the worst effects of climate change.
Mangrove restoration site at a local village in Aceh, Indonesia
For the people connected to these ecosystems, the benefits of blue carbon extend far beyond combating climate change. Blue carbon habitats provide extensive benefits to biodiversity, local communities, and the millions of people dependent on them for their food supply. Aquatic plants found in these coastal blue carbon environments provide the shelter, nutrients, and water filtration services on which aquatic animals depend- simply put, many forms of animal life cannot survive without these foundational habitats. Flourishing coastal habitats increase food security and provide coastal communities with fishery and ecotourism opportunities. Mangroves and tidal marshes mitigate coastal erosion and insulate coastal communities from storm surges during extreme weather events. It’s been estimated that the annual value of the ecosystem services provided by blue carbon habitats hovers around $190 billion.
The world’s blue carbon ecosystems have a fundamental role in addressing climate change. Focusing our attention on the conservation and restoration of these precious ecosystems will have an immense impact in returning life to coastal waters and uplifting surrounding communities.
About the Authors
David Chen is passionate about nature-based solutions and developing carbon offset projects that protect and restore native ecosystems. From replanting bald cypress trees in the Mississippi River delta to reestablishing mangroves forests in international countries, David understands the positive impact these projects have on biodiversity, coastal resiliency and improving local livelihoods. David is a Program Development Manager at ClimeCo and has a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and received his Bachelor of Science from the University of California, Riverside.
Daniel Frasca is an Associate on the Program Development Team specializing in nature-based solutions. He joined the team with previous business development, finance, and sales experience in the residential solar industry and leadership experience in the nonprofit sector. Daniel earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Boston College, with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Environmental Studies.