Family Forest Blog

Is the Family Forest Carbon Program Right For You? Part 1: An Introduction to the Program

Nate Truitt, EVP of Climate Funding

March 28, 2023


This blog post is part of a five-part series called, “Is the Family Forest Carbon Program Right for You?” Here are the key takeaways you will find in this post:  

  • The Family Forest Carbon Program is a customized, collaborative plan that works for you, your family, and your woods. 

  • The program provides guaranteed annual payments during your time in the program. 

  • The program provides ongoing professional and community support. 

As you work with the Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP) you will learn that we are different from other carbon programs and opportunities for landowners. We are proud of what makes us unique and want to provide you with this information to help you make the right decision for you and your property. 

We will always work to make sure you are receiving the best possible services, and the highest possible incentives, we can afford to produce. That is what we are devoted to, that is what our Board of Trustees holds us accountable for, and that is the passion that drives all of us.

Key benefits of enrolling in the Family Forest Carbon Program

1. We will work with you to understand your family’s objectives for the property, and then collaborate with you to create a forest management plan to achieve those objectives. Every landowner and every piece of land is unique, and we will work with you to make sure your plan works for both you and your woods. 

2. We will provide you with guaranteed annual payments. Caring for your land in the long term may mean forgoing some economic opportunities in the short term. Our financial assistance incentives are intended to make that decision easier. This money can help you pay for the activities in your forest management plan (like invasive species treatment), cover costs such as property taxes or road maintenance, or help with life events like a semester of college tuition or a health care expense — it’s up to you.


Forester Bob Hobbes and Kevin Yoder of The Nature Conservancy meet with family forest owner Susan Benedict.

3. We will become your long-term partner in forest stewardship, checking in with you on an ongoing basis as you implement your management plan, and offering advice, support and guidance as needed. We will also connect you to the growing community of FFCP landowners who have made a commitment to take control of their woods and pass them on in better shape than they found them. 

Perhaps best of all, participation in the program doesn’t cost you anything. All the services we provide are free to participating landowners. In fact, we actually provide you with incentives to participate.  This is made possible because the same practices that help you achieve your objectives and increase the long-term value of your woodland also increase the amount of carbon in your woods over time.   

Interested in learning more about the Family Forest Carbon Program? Click here you check your eligibility today.

A note about our not-for-profit status, and why it matters to you

Before you move on to the rest of this series, we want to talk for a moment about our status as a not-for-profit.  

The term “not-for-profit,” or non-profit, does not mean that the organization can’t make a profit. Not-for-profits can, and usually do, have an annual “profit” in the sense that their revenues exceed their expenses. If they didn’t, they would soon cease to exist! 

Instead, “not-for-profit” indicates that the organization isn’t owned by anyone. It operates as a public trust and is recognized by the government as operating in a way that furthers the common good. In a sense, a non-profit is “owned” by the public interest, and it is managed by a Board of Trustees who act on behalf of the real owners — the public — to ensure the organization serves that interest. If a non-profit organization does make a profit, it cannot, by law, distribute that profit to its board, staff, or anyone else. It must instead use that profit to serve the public good it represents. 

The way in which a non-profit chooses to serve the public interest is reflected in its mission statement. The mission statements for the two organizations behind the Family Forest Carbon Program are: 

American Forest Foundation: To deliver meaningful conservation impact through the empowerment of family forest owners. 
The Nature Conservancy: To preserve the land and waters on which all life depends. 

Essentially, those missions are the "owners" of the Family Forest Carbon Program. 

Why does this matter to you?  

If the program makes a profit, it must go back into those respective missions — not the pockets of investors. 

We care about profit only because being profitable means we can continue to partner with landowners like you to implement better forest management practices — and provide financial incentives to do so.  

Anything beyond what we need to do those things, we put back “into the forest.” Our Board of Trustees will never see a penny of the funds we generate, and so they have no incentive to maximize profits at the expense of other values.  

Our not-for-profit status ensures that our goals and incentives are aligned: we are devoting resources toward activities that will serve the overall mission of meaningful conservation impact.


FFCP staff forester Isaac Slone meets with a family forest owner.

The Family Forest Carbon Program is now enrolling landowners with 30 acres or more in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Vermont, as well as select counties in Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Wisconsin. Click here to check your eligibility today.

More from this series...

To continue learning about our program and whether it fits your needs, jump to another post in this series: 

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