Forest carbon offsets: a multiple methods assessment of potential supply from family forest landowners

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Forest carbon offsets: a multiple methods assessment of potential supply from family forest landowners

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Forests serve as important terrestrial carbon sequestration sinks. By modifying current forest management practices, the amount of carbon sequestered within US forests can be increased. In response to industry and state/regional commitments to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon is now a commodity that can be sold in the marketplace. Practices that enhance sequestration ability can generate carbon credits that can be sold to entities wishing to offset emissions. Family forest landowners own 42% of the nation's forest land and could contribute substantially to sequestration efforts, but only if they are willing to participate in forest offset projects. Little is known regarding this audience's views toward carbon markets, the management changes and commitments that would be necessary, and the types of incentives, compensation or assistance that would be required to encourage their participation. To address this information gap, I used both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to assess family forest owner interest in both carbon management and carbon markets. First, a mail survey of family forest owners in the Lake States (Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin) was used develop a profile of landowner interest and estimate the regional supply of forest offsets using logistic regression. Next, focus groups with Lake States landowners were conducted to obtain further insight on opportunities and barriers to managing for forest carbon offsets. Finally, a national assessment of state forestry agencies was conducted to gather their perspectives on family forest owner interest in managing for carbon and carbon offsets. The assessment also identified and described state programs currently available to assist forest landowners who want to manage for carbon or carbon offsets. Multiple triangulation methods were used to compare the major findings of each study segment and make final study conclusions.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. March 2013. Major: Natural Resources Science and Management. Advisor: Michael A. Kilgore. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 278 pages, appendices A-Q.

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Miller, Kristell Anne. (2013). Forest carbon offsets: a multiple methods assessment of potential supply from family forest landowners. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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