Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia
Living Carbon for "Made in BC" Conservation Offsets
In recent years, the Land Trust Alliance of BC (LTABC) has been building an arsenal of compelling research to fortify the case for forest conservation offsets in BC. LTABC began exploring the potential for conservation offsets through research in 2007 which established an approximate financial value for ecosystem services on conservation lands. Capstoning the research series, LTABC recently released Conservation Offsets – A Revenue Tool for Conserving Natural Areas, Watersheds, and Community Resilience, a report that reviews the context and opportunities for “living carbon” offset projects in BC.
The timing for LTABC’s new business enterprise, Living Carbon, is ripe as the provincial government begins work on a "Forest Carbon Offset Protocol”, following consultations with stakeholders in 2010. Living Carbon is blazing a trail for credible conservation offsets with a goal to be the one-stop-shop for land trusts, local governments, and First Nations in BC. In the course of its learning, LTABC has determined that conservation forest offsets will only be viable as community-led initiatives where:
- Ownership is held through covenants;
- There is ongoing monitoring; and
- The bulk of the carbon revenue flows back to communities committed to the task for the next 100 years. At present, Living Carbon is piloting a BC-based conservation offset project with a goal to deliver offset credits by December 2011.
The research commissioned by LTABC has been essential in advancing understanding of forests as a conservation offset in BC. The Living Carbon enterprise stands to benefit member land trusts as a way to pool forest lands for conservation and offsets. BC communities also stand to benefit from forest carbon conservation as a means to generate much needed revenue for local government—an attractive alternative to property tax increases—while also protecting forest ecosystems that provide essential services for our well being.
We have provided financial support for several of LTABC's carbon and biodiversity research reports as well as funding some of LTABC's public and professional education activities over time.