Increase Carbon Storage

Family Forest Carbon Program

Bringing together American family forest owners, companies and policymakers to improve forest health and address climate change

Developed by the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, the Family Forest Carbon Program enables family forest owners to access climate finance from carbon markets—empowering them to help address climate change while earning income from their land.

Up until now, family forest owners had almost entirely been excluded from carbon markets due to complexity and high upfront costs. And because they own the largest portion of forestland in the United States, leaving them out was essentially shorting the potential of our forests to address climate change, withholding economic opportunities from rural Americans and limiting the carbon credit supply for companies.

The Family Forest Carbon Program was designed to simultaneously meet the needs of family forest owners, policymakers and companies as we all work together to sequester and store carbon.

The value-add for companies seeking natural climate solutions

  • High integrity verified carbon credits generated by American family forest owners and measured using a new carbon accounting methodology developed under Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard

  • An avenue to provide economic support for rural American families and communities

  • A critical role in improving forest health and wildlife habitat

  • Increased supply chain resiliency for companies that source sustainable paper, fiber-based packaging or other wood products from North America

Get more information about how the program can help you meet your climate goals.

A revolutionary step forward with a new forest carbon accounting methodology

Taking a step forward for transparency and credibility, the Family Forest Carbon Program has developed a new forest carbon accounting methodology to measure and verify the carbon sequestered and stored by the landowners enrolled.

This new approach provides a highly credible claim of additionality.

Inspired by medical trials that use a control group, our new methodology uses observed baselines to measure the performance of a forest practice on an enrolled property compared to unenrolled properties that are conducting business as usual forest practices (via the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data). This method isolates the Family Forest Carbon Program as the single variable that contributes to the carbon removed and reduces the challenges around projected baselines most commonly used in existing carbon projects.

Our new methodology is being reviewed and validated by Verra, the globally recognized nonprofit organization that oversees the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and is pending final approval in 2022. 

Learn more about how your company can partner with us as we grow this innovative solution.

A win-win for American landowners

The Family Forest Carbon Program pays small forest holders upfront to implement climate-smart forestry practices that go above and beyond what is otherwise common practice. The program also provides landowners with professional expertise and guidance to help them transition to sustainable management long term. 

  • A long-term resource for landowners to improve the health and value of their woodlands, including expert assistance from forest professionals

  • Income from the land that can cover the costs of climate-friendly forest management activities

  • A voluntary, incentivized-based option to play a role in the fight against climate change that complements other government tools and programs

  • An opportunity to provide economic support for local communities

Are you a landowner interested in enrolling your small forested property in a carbon program?

The Family Forest Carbon Program is currently enrolling eligible landowners in Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia. If you are a family forest owner and are interested in participating, please visit the Family Forest Carbon Program website to see if your property is eligible.

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American Forest Foundation CEO Rita Hite (center left) shares the opportunity that voluntary carbon markets present to small acreage landowners at the Environmental Defense Fund headquarters.

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