Minnesota North Woods Carbon Partnership: Cass and Aitkin County Land Departments Case Study


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Presentation by John Gunn, Senior Program Leader, Manomet CCenter for Conservation Sciences, at the Blandin Foundation sponsored Forest Values and Carbon Markets: Opportunities for Minnesota conference. February 25-26, 2009 at the Cloquet Forestry Center, Cloquet MN

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Minnesota North Woods Carbon Partnership: Cass and Aitkin County Land Departments Case Study

  1. 1. John Gunn, Ph.D. Senior Program Leader Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences Brunswick, Maine 26 February 2008 06/08/09 Minnesota North Woods Carbon Partnership: Cass and Aitkin County Land Departments Case Study
  2. 2. Project Intent <ul><li>Understand the implications of Forest Carbon Offset Markets for managed forests in Minnesota </li></ul><ul><li>Create a structure to evaluate forest carbon stocks under existing Forest Carbon Offset Standards </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate Potential of Payments for other Ecosystem Services in the North Woods </li></ul><ul><li>Today – present results for Aitkin and Cass County Land Department Forest Carbon Analysis under the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Carbon offset market landscape <ul><li>Markets & Registries (Regulatory and Voluntary) </li></ul><ul><li>Standards, Protocols, & Rules </li></ul><ul><li>Primary Pathways Relevant to North American forest owners: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>California Climate Action Registry (CCAR) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) </li></ul></ul>06/08/09
  4. 4. Basic Elements of the Major Forest Carbon Offset Standards 06/08/09 Standard Baseline Additionality Permanence CCX Base Year =Growth – Harvest 15 years VCS 5-10 Years Prior Practices Permanent CCAR Regulatory Practices Perm. Easement
  5. 6. CCX (a) vs. VCS (b) Additionality =“improved” forest management category
  6. 7. Process <ul><li>VCS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Derive VCS Baseline (BAU) from ACLD/CCLD Tactical Plans, and harvest and inventory data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work with LDs to determine where opportunities exist for “improved forest management (IFM)” practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Model impacts of management changes on carbon stocks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calculate eligible carbon: Alternate IFM minus BAU residual carbon stocks </li></ul></ul>
  7. 8. Process <ul><li>CCX </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate growth models and inventory protocols (against CCX requirements) used to generate Baseline data and net growth calculations for CCX scenario </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine eligible CO2e volume (above ground and live below ground net change converted to CO2 equivalent) in forest stands over time </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. “ Improved” Forest Management Options <ul><li>Extended rotation lengths (10-15 years) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase average stand age on landscape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhances structural complexity (larger and more debris associated with harvesting) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces frequency of harvesting emissions through disturbance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fuels reduction to minimize risk of catastrophic fire </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced Impact Logging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize soil disturbance through shifting more harvests to frozen conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize damage to residual stand (reduce mortality, maintain vigor) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Management Options (cont.) <ul><li>Create Late-Successional/Old-Growth reserves </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Or reserves with other objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increase stand-level retention practices (residual BA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Patches or dispersed live trees (Legacies) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dead standing, CWD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased riparian buffer widths </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reduce acreage of higher intensity silvicultural practices </li></ul>
  10. 11.
  11. 14. FVS Carbon Module <ul><li>Carbon Submodel of the Fire and Fuels Extension </li></ul><ul><li>Lake States Variant (individual tree model) – approved by CCX </li></ul><ul><li>CSA GIS Inventory Data from CCLD and ACLD (used subset of 30% of total acreage in models) </li></ul><ul><li>Uses accepted forest carbon assumptions (Smith et al. 2006, Jenkins et al. 2003) </li></ul>
  12. 15. FVS Fuels and Fire Extension – Carbon Submodel <ul><li>Stand Carbon Stocks are calculated and reported for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Total aboveground live C </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Belowground live C </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Standing Dead C </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Down Dead C </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forest Floor C </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Herbs and Shrubs C </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Total Removed C </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disposition of Carbon in Harvested Wood Products </li></ul>
  13. 16. Eligible Pools 06/08/09 Category Carbon Pool Above Ground: Living Tree biomass Shrubs and Herbaceous Understory Above Ground: Dead Standing Dead Coarse and Fine Woody Material Litter Below Ground Soil organic Live Roots Off-site Wood Products
  14. 17. Mean Net Annual Change: ACLD = -63,717 MTC CCLD = -97,052 MTC
  15. 18. <ul><li>Summary of Annual Residual Live Carbon (aboveground and belowground) in BAU vs. Alternate (ALT) Harvest Scenarios </li></ul>6,685 (~1.5 MTC/ac./year) 51,947 45,262 CCLD 6,169 (~1.6 MTC/ac./year) 50,016 43,846 ACLD VCS Eligible Carbon ALT – BAU (MTC) ALT Residual Live Carbon Biomass (MTC) BAU Residual Live Carbon Biomass (MTC) County
  16. 19. Eligible Carbon Summary NOTE: 1 MT Carbon =3.667 MTCO2 equivalent (MTCO2e) Source: US EPA $90,496 - $135,744 $98,064 – $147,096 ACLD Potential Revenue (annual) $4.00 - $6.00/ MTCO2e 6,169 MTC – or 22,624 MTCO2e NA -63,717 MTC or -233,650 MTCO2e ACLD 6,685 MTC – or 24,516 MTCO2e NA -97,052 MTC or -355,889 MTCO2e CCLD ACLD Eligible MTCO2e (annual) CCX Potential Revenue (annual) $2.00/ MTCO2e CCX Eligible MTCO2e (annual) County
  17. 20. Notes on Results - CCX <ul><li>Area Regulation (harvest target acres instead of target volume) for Desired Future Condition perhaps not suited for Base Year approach </li></ul><ul><li>Once age classes become more regulated, might be more opportunities for credit </li></ul>
  18. 21. Notes on Results - VCS <ul><li>Impact of modifying Residual Basal Area was minimal </li></ul><ul><li>The harvest intensity shift was conservative – but we now have a spreadsheet calculator tool to evaluate other scenarios </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon stocks within expected range (e.g., Smith et al. 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>ACLD and CCLD already practicing FSC-certified management – not much room to alter current practices </li></ul><ul><li>VCS is considering standards-based methodologies for IFM </li></ul>
  19. 22. Next Steps <ul><li>Evaluate Product Fate and Economic Impacts of Forgone Harvest </li></ul><ul><li>Refine Harvest Intensity Carbon Calculator for broader use </li></ul><ul><li>Final Report to discuss: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leakage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Permanence Implications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peatland Conservation Carbon Implications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ecosystem Services Scoping (e.g., water, recreation) </li></ul></ul>
  20. 23. Acknowledgements <ul><li>Blandin Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Mark Jacobs, Norm Moody, Beth Jacqmain, Josh Stevenson </li></ul><ul><li>Dovetail Partners – Katie Fernholz </li></ul><ul><li>David Saah, Ph.D., Univ. of San Francisco </li></ul>