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Small Landowners Are Untapped Heroes in the Fight Against Climate Change

Small Landowners Are Untapped Heroes in the Fight Against Climate Change

Forests are fundamentally linked to climate change, both as a cause and a solution. Clearing and mismanagement of forests contribute about 12 percent of global carbon emissions. But forests also act as a carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide, as well as regulating water flows and protecting the rich biodiversity and communities that depend on them.

As such, forestry has long been central to climate change mitigation plans, including carbon offset programs, wherein an entity pays to remove or avoid equivalent emissions elsewhere that they would emit in their operations. Due to increased demand for these programs and a need for conservation finance tools, a new initiative called the Family Forest Carbon Program, created by the American Forest Foundation (AFF) and The Nature Conservancy, aims to maximize the climate mitigation potential of forests by engaging family forest owners to deliver meaningful conservation through active forest management.

“Globally, engaging and enrolling small private landowners in natural climate solutions programs is critical in the race to tackle climate change,” said Josh Parrish, director of the American Forest Carbon Initiative at the Nature Conservancy. “Through a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and the American Forest Foundation, the Family Forest Carbon Program is providing small family forest owners in the U.S. with knowledge, incentives and new market opportunities that have the ability to meaningfully reduce the impacts of climate change.”

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