Carbon Credit Programs Among SFI Participants in Maine
Maine has 17.6 million acres of forests, 17.1 million acres (97%) of which is considered timberland. Maine forest landowners are growing more wood than they harvest, and the carbon in the state’s forests has increased in volume by almost 5% from 2004 to 2012. Over eight million acres in Maine is managed according to the sustainability standards of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc. (SFI), and/or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), or the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) — a key eligibility criterion for carbon credit programs. Yet, none of the 6.3 million acres of SFI‐certified lands in Maine are enrolled in a carbon credit program — not for lack of interest, because all of Maine’s SFI participants have considered carbon credits. Maine landowners who participate in other certification programs or adhere to a sustainable long‐term management plan approved by a
state or federal agency have enrolled tens of thousands of acres in carbon agreements worth millions of dollars.
“Adoption of Carbon Credit Programs among SFI Participants in Maine,” the recently released report by Keeping Maine’s Forest, analyzes the degree to which forests managed to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s (SFI) standards in Maine are enrolled in carbon credit programs; analyzes the opportunities and constraints these programs represent for landowners; and examines the strengths and weaknesses of different landowner types when considering enrolling land in a carbon credit program. The study examines the value that sustainability certification adds to the process of obtaining carbon credits, and how changes to the protocol for obtaining carbon credits might enhance the incentives to enroll land.