Carbon and forests

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at
Thu Jul 10 08:17:25 EDT 2003

Interesting and disturbing story that John provides about carbon credits.  It is
complex and worthy of an intricate mystery writer.

But it raised a separate concern in my mind.
In New Jersey today we have more forest cover than a century ago.
Conservationists have cherished forests (after all in the east it is our climax
But what we desperately lack are grasslands and their associated fauna.  Most
grassland bird species are in steep decline (at least in NJ).
Last week in central NY I heard a Meadowlark song----and realized how long it
had been since I heard that once familiar voice.

Fortunately butterflies seem more tolerant of fragmented meadows, but we need to
develop a conservation ethic for early successional stages.

A forest planted is a grassland lost.


John Shuey wrote:

> Perhaps the best evidence of the acceptance of the reality of global warming
> among industry types is how badly they want to acquire "carbon credits" on
> the assumption that t some future date, these credits will become a valued
> commodity.  In the Midwest, where forest fragmentation, patch size and edge
> effect are huge conservation issues, we have been swamped with power company
> funding for reforestation.  Over the last 6-7 years, we have literally
> planted every old field at TNC and partner conservation sites available. I
> think we passed the 2M trees planted mark on TNC land last year.  And we
> scaled back an offer of more funding over the next three years by 75% - we
> simply don't have any land that needs to be planted anymore. (although every
> time you buy a forest in Indiana, it likely comes with a field of some
> sort).
> So while we get buffers to our preserves reforested for free and some staff
> time covered as part of the deal - what may you ask are the power companies
> getting?  They get a speculatively low price on carbon sequestration credits
> for the next 40 years on the site (they cover all of our costs - about
> $550/acre).  If carbon credit trading becomes a reality (as outlined in the
> Kyoto protocol), they will "own X-number of credits for tons of carbon (by
> the way - the utilities are responsible for the monitoring of carbon
> sequestration during the 40 years - all we do is document baseline
> conditions at the time of initial planting).  Once carbon trading becomes a
> reality (and the credits actually have "value") - the utilities expect to
> pay a premium to acquire the credits (and as a non-profit, we would have to
> charge full market value for the credits by law - what ever the going rate
> for a carbon credit might be at that time).
> So, utilities are paying fro the cost of reforestation now, speculating that
> at some point in the future, their investment will be worth quite a bit
> more.  Given the amount of money that they are paying (at our little program
> we planted about $700K worth of trees over the last few years), my guess is
> that they are betting that the recommendations of the Kyoto summit will
> become accepted in the US.
> As an aside, one of the utilities has upped the ante, and is willing to pay
> a few hundred dollars per acre to help TNC acquire a conservation easement
> on lands within our preserve designs (in addition to the costs of
> reforestation).  They hope that this would help us to convince private
> landowners adjacent to our holdings to participate in the program.   You -
> the landowner get your land reforested for free, plus $2-3 hundred bucks and
> acre in your pocket - and the credits of course go to ....
> If Ohio River Valley power companies (coal burning by the way) think that
> Kyoto will be adapted in the good 'ole USA, then there must be something to
> all this global warming stuff.
> _________________
> John Shuey
> Director of Conservation Science
> Indiana Office of The Nature Conservancy
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-leps-l at [mailto:owner-leps-l at]On
> Behalf Of Stanley A. Gorodenski
> Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2003 1:30 PM
> To: Leps List
> Subject: Re: leps-list not dead, but sleeping
> Mark Walker wrote:
> > That's very interesting - because "global warming" has indeed been
> > propagated by the media AND various lobbyists as a "global trend" - that
> is,
> I disagree. I have read Science (published by the American Association for
> the
> Advancement of Science) for over 10 years. _Numerous_ research results have
> been
> presented related to global warming and climate change during this time.
> These
> were by researchers, not media and lobbyists. The common lay person does not
> read Science and other scientific journals to get information on global
> warming.
> The media fills this gap, but because it is fulfilling a function for which
> it
> was designed, it would be inappropriate to therefore say that the media is
> responsible for 'crying wolf' or spreading hysteria, so to speak. With
> respect
> to lobbyists, what sort of lobbyists are you referring to? I am sure the
> Exxons
> are not lobbying to reduce the consumption of oil because of global warming
> considerations.
> Stan
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