Glossary

Emerging Efforts to Address Reforestation’s Most Challenging Problem

Emerging Efforts to Address Reforestation’s Most Challenging Problem

Emerging Efforts to Address Reforestation’s Most Challenging Problem


by: David Chen | June 20, 2022

Sapling of a tree to be reforested.

The Difficulty of Financing Reforestation

Reforestation is emerging as a desirable and effective tool for carbon emission removals and has received increased attention from investors in the last several years. Investments in reforestation enable vital carbon removal from the atmosphere and offer innumerable ancillary environmental and social benefits, from creating critical habitats for biodiversity to improving water quality, groundwater recharge, and flood prevention for local communities. Despite the demand for the carbon removals and ancillary benefits that reforestation projects provide, the most challenging obstacle for reforestation-based carbon offset projects begins before a shovel ever touches the ground.  

For nearly all reforestation carbon offset projects, the majority of costs, such as securing easements (to ensure long-term permanence) and planting activities, occur at the beginning of a project. In contrast, most carbon sequestration benefits from reforestation activities, and therefore the associated revenue from carbon offsets, accrues slowly over a long-time horizon. This delay between when costs occur and when revenue is realized has historically made reforestation challenging to finance and has hindered projects from getting off the ground; project developers cannot implement a reforestation project without a sizable initial investment, and investors looking to secure carbon credits can find it challenging to justify such an investment without assurances that expected carbon benefits from the investment would be delivered over an extended timeline.  

Although financing challenges have hindered reforestation efforts for decades, several well-known carbon offset registries, such as the Climate Action Reserve and Verra, are developing new programs and instruments that aim to address those early finance hurdles and enable more project developers, like ClimeCo, to bring reforestation projects to market.  

Boat driving by bald cypress trees in marshy water.


CAR’s Climate Forward Program

One approach currently offered is the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) Climate Forward program that seeks to drive forward-looking investments, such as reforestation, by allowing projects to generate ex ante credits called Forecasted Mitigation Units (FMUs) that can be utilized to help finance the high upfront cost of getting a project launched. As opposed to traditional carbon credits generated ex post or after emission reductions occur and can be used to offset existing sources of emissions, FMUs are an environmental instrument that are issued based on forecasted emission reductions and/or removals and are intended to offset a future stream of emissions from new economic activity (i.e., a new construction project or development). Reforestation projects under the Climate Forward program must meet stringent eligibility requirements to ensure that the carbon sequestration benefits are additional and minimize and account for the risk of natural or intentional “reversals,” a situation where the stored carbon associated with a project is released back to the atmosphere. 

In late April this year, CAR released Version 2 of the Climate Forward Reforestation Methodology, with additional assurances that bolster the environmental integrity of FMUs generated from reforestation projects in the Climate Forward program. One of the most noteworthy additions to the Reforestation Methodology is the inclusion of a permanence risk buffer pool to account for unintentional reversals outside a project’s control, such as fire, insects, and disease. To account for these unavoidable reversals, the newly updated Reforestation Methodology will require every reforestation project in the Climate Forward program to contribute a certain percentage of FMUs into a “permanence risk pool,” which will be collected and held as insurance. If an unintentional reversal occurs, CAR will retire the corresponding amount of FMUs from the permanence risk pool to compensate for the negative impact of the reversal. These updated assurances to the Reforestation Methodology will help give buyers confidence that their FMUs represent carbon that is stored for the long term. 

Saplings of mangroves to be planted in reforestation effort.


Verra’s Projected Carbon Unit

Carbon registry Verra is currently creating a solution for addressing this financing problem with a new commodity called a “Projected Carbon Unit” or “PCU.” PCUs are intended to help provide a source of upfront revenue to support the development of projects on Verra’s registry before the verification and issuance of Verra’s standard carbon offset or Verified Carbon Units (VCU).  

Unlike the FMUs generated in the Climate Action Reserve program, PCUs are not ex ante but are an instrument that reflects the validated projection of expected emission reductions or removals and cannot be used for offsetting claims until the associated emission reductions or removals are successfully verified (i.e., after the reduction has occurred). Upon successful verification, the PCU’s will automatically be converted to ex post VCUs. PCUs are intended to be generated using Verra’s existing methodologies which theoretically could provide early finance for a multitude of nature-based solutions and other carbon offsetting project types. Verra has completed two rounds of public consultation and intends to operationalize and launch PCUs in September 2022.  


Conclusion

The recent addition of the permanence risk buffer pool to the Climate Forward program and Verra’s development of PCUs are part of a larger trend of creative solutions being designed to help reforestation efforts meet the growing demand for nature-based solutions. I am excited to see these efforts by CAR and Verra and look forward to seeing even more future innovative solutions that will support these types of opportunities. The more we can reduce the hurdles of nature-based projects, the more our planet benefits.  

 


About the Author

David Chen is passionate about nature-based and blue carbon project development. From replanting bald cypress trees in the Mississippi River delta to reestablishing mangroves forests in international countries, David knows the positive impact these projects have on biodiversity and coastal resiliency to 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. 

ClimeCo Partners with YAKOPI and PUR Projet for Mangrove Reforestation Project in Indonesia, Bolstering the Ecology and Economy of the Region

ClimeCo Partners with YAKOPI and PUR Projet for Mangrove Reforestation Project in Indonesia, Bolstering the Ecology and Economy of the Region

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
CONTACT
Nancy Marshall, Vice President, Marketing
484.415.7603 or nmarshall@climeco.com  

ClimeCo Partners with YAKOPI and PUR Projet for Mangrove Reforestation Project in Indonesia, Bolstering the Ecology and Economy of the Region

ClimeCo’s Nature-Based Carbon Offset Credits to Fund 6,000 Acres of Mangroves in Aceh and North Sumatra Regions Decimated by Aquaculture and Tsunami

Women working on YAKOPI and Pur Projet mangrove restoration project

Boyertown, PA – April 4, 2022 – ClimeCo, a leader in the development and management of environmental commodities, announces its partnership with YAKOPI (Yayasan Konservasi Persisir Indonesia) and PUR Projet for the reforestation of vital mangroves in the Aceh and North Sumatra Regions of Indonesia.

Mangroves sequester three to five times the amount of carbon as regular forests. Indonesia is home to over 20% of the world’s mangroves. In the last three decades, roughly 40% of Indonesia’s mangroves have been lost due to shrimp and fish aquaculture, leaving many former shrimp ponds abandoned and local communities with little access to economic opportunities. The North Sumatra region has lost 60% of its pristine mangroves due to aquaculture, putting coastal resilience, biodiversity, and wildlife habitats at enormous risk. Aquaculture isn’t the only culprit in the loss of mangroves; in the Aceh region, a substantial amount of its mangroves were lost due to a tsunami in 2004.

ClimeCo will fund the reforestation of these mangroves by selling the resulting third-party verified carbon credits and implementing the project through their local partnerships with YAKOPI and PUR Projet. This investment will support gender-equitable employment, ecosystem services payment to local communities, ecotourism business development, and a pilot program for locals to implement silvofisheries- a form of sustainable aquaculture that integrates planting and maintenance and protection of mangrove forests in aquaculture ponds.

The improved livelihoods of the local communities and the long-term success of this mangrove reforestation project are interdependent- with the support of our partnerships, this project has all the right elements to achieve both,” says ClimeCo Program Development Manager David Chen

Participants in the voluntary carbon markets are becoming more aware of the environmental, social, and economic co-benefits of mangrove reforestation/conservation projects, and demand for these carbon offsets is accelerating.

For years, clients have looked for ways to support carbon emission reductions in the oceans.  Mangrove projects offer a locally beneficial, third party verified, registry approved method to do so,” says ClimeCo Vice President, Voluntary Markets Dan Linsky.

Man sitting on mangrove restoration field

ClimeCo has witnessed substantial, diverse, global interest in the purchase of mangrove projects from its carbon offset buyers. Such interest has been expressed during ongoing conversations, and as such, ClimeCo has transacted hundreds of thousands of mangrove-derived voluntary CO2e reductions so far in 2022.

Such interest is grounded in corporate and consulting staff recognition of the charismatic, abundant, substantial, and important co-benefits of mangrove projects. From shoreline protection to habitat restoration, generating new jobs to rebuilding food supplies, the seemingly endless list of mangrove restoration impacts in addition to carbon capture and storage has been very moving to carbon offset purchasers. These benefits represent why ClimeCo has approached this project and so many of its past projects with enthusiasm: These projects are more than just carbon reductions; we are looking to go beyond.

About Our Partners

  • YAKOPI is a local Indonesia group dedicated to restoring mangroves and providing employment opportunities for local women and youth. Directed by Eling Tuhono, YAKOPI are experts and local leaders in mangrove restoration and will be responsible for managing many logistical aspects of the program on the ground.
  • PUR Projet is a certified B Corporation that specializes in designing and implementing agroforestry projects, nature-based solutions, and sustainable supply chain interventions. As an on-the-ground project developer, PUR Projet will manage components of the carbon offset certification, help navigate local culture/politics and advise on reforestation efforts.

About ClimeCo

ClimeCo is a respected global advisor, transaction facilitator, trader, and developer of environmental commodity market products and related services. 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 services, 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 484.415.0501, info@climeco.com, or through our “contact us” page at climeco.com. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using our handle, @ClimeCo.

Heritage Sustainability Investments and ClimeCo Provide Capital to Restore the Earth Foundation

Heritage Sustainability Investments and ClimeCo Provide Capital to Restore the Earth Foundation

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
CONTACT
Heritage Environmental Services

6510 Telecom Drive, Suite 400
Indianapolis, IN  46278
www.heritage-enviro.com

Heritage Sustainability Investments and ClimeCo Provide Capital to Restore the Earth Foundation

July 15, 2021 (Indianapolis, IN) Heritage Sustainability Investments, LLC, a subsidiary of The Heritage Group and affiliate of Heritage Environmental Services, LLC, (collectively, Heritage), and ClimeCo joined together to provide capital to Restore the Earth Foundation, Inc. (Restore the Earth) to provide for the native trees and planting for the reforestation of 4,000 acres of the Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area in Louisiana.  The freshwater marsh area will be planted with native Bald Cypress seedlings. In addition to the sequestration of CO2, the project will reduce flood and storm risk to local communities by creating a first line of defense in the form of healthy forest ecosystems and restore fragmented wildlife habitats. The project is anticipated to create 800,000 Climate Action Reserve Forward Mitigation Units (FMUs).

Restore the Earth

“The benefits of reforestation projects like this reach far beyond the immediately impacted areas,” said Chad Peterson, President of Heritage Sustainability Investments. “The work Restore the Earth is doing not only benefits the environment, but also the people and businesses in southern Louisiana. Collaborating with ClimeCo on this project will help us make a lasting difference in the community and drive future GHG reduction.”


Restore the Earth pioneered the development of the Climate Action Reserve’s Climate Forward Reforestation methodology. The program provides a mechanism to quantify, verify and register FMUs, which represent emissions that are forecasted to be mitigated in the future, using rigorous and peer–reviewed carbon reduction project methodologies. FMUs will be marketed to voluntary buyers by ClimeCo to help fund future reforestation efforts in the basin. The program is designed to encourage companies and organizations to invest in projects that mitigate future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“Restoration of degraded lands is one of the most critical project types society can undertake to meet the challenge of climate change,” says Derek Six, Chief Business Officer for ClimeCo.  “Reforestation provides a clear and enduring GHG mitigation impact, and generations to come will enjoy the wide array of ecological benefits these projects create. ClimeCo is excited to be working with Restore the Earth and to continue to support their ambitious goals in the Mississippi River Delta.”


Ballard Spahr, a national law firm with more than 600 attorneys in 15 offices nationwide, served as counsel to ClimeCo for the project. Attorneys supported the formation and management of a special purpose LLC for the effort, prepared the transaction and financing documents, and advised on matters involving the carbon offset protocols and requirements for generating the FMUs.

Media Contacts:

Heritage
www.heritage-enviro.com
Attention: Ali Alavi – EVP, Regulatory Affairs & General Counsel
(877) 436-8778

ClimeCo
climeco.com

Attention: Nancy Marshall – VP, Marketing
(484) 415-7603
nmarshall@climeco.com

Restore the Earth Foundation
https://restoretheearth.org/

Attention: Taylor Marshall – Director of Sustainable Programs
(607) 342-7362
tam@restoretheearth.org

About Heritage

Heritage Sustainability Investments, LLC, is a subsidiary of The Heritage Group and affiliate of Heritage Environmental Services, LLC. We invest in companies where our deep knowledge and extensive resources in materials sciences and environmental sustainability can accelerate growth. We purchased a minority stake in ClimeCo in February 2021, combining Heritage’s leadership in holistic waste management and beneficial reuse with ClimeCo’s expertise in climate change policy, sustainability program development, and emission reduction project implementation to provide a unique, turnkey service offering to the market.

About ClimeCo

ClimeCo is a respected advisor, transaction facilitator, and trader of environmental commodity market products. We specialize in regulated carbon, voluntary markets, plastic credits, sustainability, and project development and financing of GHG abatement and mitigation systems. For more information or to discuss how ClimeCo can drive your organization’s value, contact us at 484.415.0501, info@climeco.com, or through our website, climeco.com.

About Restore the Earth Foundation

Restore the Earth Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not for profit with a mission of restoring the Earth’s essential forest and wetland ecosystems. Restore the Earth knows that it is possible to go beyond just protecting our environment—it is possible to restore it. And when you restore the environment at landscape scale, it creates incredible value for ecosystems, biodiversity, habitat, communities, business and the Earth.

 

Heritage Sustainability Investments and ClimeCo Provide Capital to Restore the Earth Foundation

Restoring the Earth Together

Restoring the Earth Together


by Taylor Marshall, Director of Sustainable Programs, Restore the Earth Foundation | April 24th, 2020

As a result of hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, flooding and other natural disasters, many of our forests and wetlands vital ecosystems have been degraded or destroyed. The need to restore and rebuild these ecosystems is essential, especially when it comes to a sound sustainable environmental future that supports biodiversity, habitat and surrounding communities.  

In 2008, we founded a nonprofit organization, Restore the Earth Foundation (Restore the Earth), with the hope of restoring the Earth’s essential ecosystems. We offered a unique approach to affect landscape-scale ecosystem restoration by leveraging the power of public-private partnerships and utilizing an exclusive, innovative and revolving funding mechanism.  

Today, Restore the Earth has secured federalstate, private and philanthropic funding to reforest over 60,000 acres along the Gulf Coast damaged by Hurricane Katrina. We were also the first to deploy restoration on oilsoiled wetlands following the Deep-Water Horizon oil spill, and we continue to support restoration along the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River Basin.

O
ur mission is to restore one million acres of degraded lands in the Mississippi River Basin, often referred to as “North America’s Amazon”.

                                                                                    *The blue area is the Lower-Mississippi River Basin

The Climate Forward Program 

To enhance the realization of these restoration opportunities for their corporate partners, Restore the Earth pioneered the development of the Climate Action Reserve’s (CAR) Climate Forward Reforestation methodology. The Climate Forward program provides a mechanism for Restore the Earth to quantify, verify and register forecasted mitigation units (FMUs), which represent emissions that are forecasted to be mitigated in the future, using rigorous and peerreviewed carbon reduction project methodologies.  These FMUs will be marketed to voluntary buyers by ClimeCo to help fund future reforestation efforts in the basin

The Climate Forward program is designed to accelerate action on climate change by encouraging companies and organizations to proactively invest today in projects that mitigate future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This program provides a means to capitalize on the carbon mitigation potential of a reforestation project, representing a real gamechanger in our efforts to fulfill our mission.  

Pilot Project  

Restore the Earth’s first Climate Forward project reforests more than 5,000 acres of the historic bald cypress forest at the Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, which is anticipated to sequester more than 1,000,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Working with Dow Corporation through their partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), an initial 400 acres will generate the first registered FMUs, which will be used to mitigate a portion of the carbon footprint of the IOC and the Olympic movement. 

Moving Reforestation Forward  

Restore the Earth is proud to lead the way with such high profile partnerships and examples, and is hopeful that these efforts will inspire other companies with carbon emission reduction commitments to consider applying the Climate Forward program to address their annual needs, resulting in significant reforestation investments in the United States.  

These investments will arrive at a critical time for the environment and the economy by affecting meaningful climate action in their own backyards, as well as in the communities of their employees, customers and neighbors. Restore the Earth applies EcoMetricsa system that provides verifiable measurement of each projects’ environmental, social and economic impacts and co-benefits, to every restoration project that we implement. While reforestation projects may have different characteristicsthey all provide exponential co-benefits to restoring native ecosystems and habitats that can be measured, quantified, third-party verified and reported on to their project partners.  These can include such benefits as job creation, clean air, improved water quality, enhanced quality of life,  economic growthetc.  

Restore the Earth has spent the past 6 years building a robust business case for landscapescale restoration in North America’s Amazon. These projects provide real impacts to the environment in one of the most ecologicallydegraded areas in the United States, while simultaneously benefiting local communities and economies in an area with the nation’s highest concentration of underserved communities.  

With a portfolio of truly shovel-ready projects, solid public partnerships, the incorporation of rigorous accounting, forward-thinking methodologies and a collaborative culture, Restore the Earth is well-positioned to address climate action right here in the United States.  Our partnership with ClimeCo is a large piece of that business case, allowing for the wide marketability of environmental attributes and the execution of significant investments in a timely and cost-effective way.   

To learn more about our partnership with ClimeCo, please click hereTo learn more about Restore the Earth and how you can volunteer or support our projects, please click here. 

About the Author

Taylor Marshall is the Director of Sustainable Programs at Restore the Earth Foundation.  Wearing many hats, her responsibilities include project development, corporate relations and ontheground management of reforestation projects in the Gulf Coast and Mississippi River Basin. 

Prior to joining Restore the Earth, Taylor was with The Water Institute of the Gulf in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, promoting community-based approaches to protecting and restoring the Gulf coast from storm risk and land loss, and enhancing community resilience to such risks. Previously, she served as a Program Director with the American Council oRenewable Energy in Washington, D.C.  Taylor earned a Master of Science degree in Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) from McGill University. 

Beyond the Trees

Beyond the Trees

Beyond the Trees

By providing carbon credits generated by an Alaskan-based forest preservation project on Afognak Island, ClimeCo assisted two bands, Pearl Jam and Third Eye Blind, in mitigating emissions generated during their respective tours.  The Afognak Forest Carbon Project, developed from a partnership between the American Land Conservancy and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, preserves 8,200 acres of centuries-old Sitka spruce forest from any future logging exploitation, ensuring it will sequester carbon long into the future.

A project that protects such a vast area will additionally result in a myriad of benefits that traverse economic, social and environmental categories.  But, as a biologist with a background in ecological research, I am pulled towards the latter – the environmental benefits.  In particular, I focus on the impressive amount of biodiversity that will be conserved by protecting the forest.

Afognak island is home to a host of animals. Among them are the Roosevelt Elk, 160 species of birds, wild salmon populations, and the largest species of bear, the Kodiak.  Forest preservation efforts promise that critters like these will continue to thrive in an environment untainted by human hand.  However, it is important to note that because of the vast interconnectedness of ecosystems, the positive effects extend past the well-publicized animals to all levels in the system.  While these effects are far-reaching and positive, it is also true that disruptive human actions will create similar ripples that reach far beyond the well-publicized species.  Illustrating this point is the tumultuous history of Gray Wolf populations within Yellowstone National Park.

In the early 1900s, wolves were considered to be a nuisance by ranchers, and by the late 1920s, due to predator control programs, wolf populations were extirpated from Yellowstone.  They didn’t return for nearly 70 years when a team of researchers undertook a campaign to reintroduce wolves into the park.  The wolves thrived and the remarkable impact that they had on the park’s ecosystem was soon obvious.

The most apparent change that researchers noted was the behavior of the elk and deer.  The predatorial nature of the wolves caused these large herbivores to avoid certain areas in order to escape becoming wolf lunch.  Now, that’s a fairly intuitive consequence.  What’s far less intuitive, however, are the broader implications that the renewed predator-prey relationship had on the rest of the park. 

The elk and deer, keen to avoid areas where they were vulnerable, stayed away from the stream banks and lowlands.  This resulted in far less browsing of streamside vegetation, leading to less erosion, which in turn promoted more natural water flows. From this, aquatic populations thrived.  This is truly remarkable!  Simply by being present, the wolves changed the rivers, returning the very lifeblood of the park to what it was before the wolves were removed.  And there are countless other ecosystem benefits the wolves provided to Yellowstone (If you’re curious and would like to learn more, I recommend watching ‘How Wolves Change Rivers’. (The video probably had a larger influence than I’d like to admit on my decision to study these animals.)

The point here is that whether we’re discussing the importance of a keystone predator, like the Gray wolf in Yellowstone, or a primary producer, such as the Sitka Spruce on Afognak Island, interactions within these large ecosystems are endlessly complicated. Preserving the forests on Afognak Island mean so much more than just sequestering carbon; it means protecting the vast, complicated web of interactions that connect the multitude of species that call these landscapes home. 

Utilizing environmental markets to incentivize and promote investments in forestry projects such as Afognak will ensure the preservation of these large, complicated ecosystems, and all the biodiversity that exists within them, long into the future.

To learn more about Afognak and how you can support their ecosystem, contact us here.

 

 

About the Author

Quin Pompi, a Project Associate with ClimeCo Corporation specializing in business development and project management, graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. As an undergraduate, he completed his thesis research in the vonHoldt lab, where he examined the effects of sarcoptic mange disease on the reintroduced Yellowstone wolf population.