Growing Money on Trees

North Carolina landowners learn how to reap benefits of carbon capture and biomass harvesting

05-13-2011 // Aislinn Maestas
North Carolina Forum

The saying goes that “money does not grow on trees,” but in North Carolina, some landowners are learning that "money from trees" might not be such a harebrained idea after all.

The development of new energy markets in North Carolina is opening up exciting new opportunities for landowners across the state. From carbon capture to biomass energy harvesting, to new markets from restoration of the iconic longleaf pine, Southeastern forest owners and farmers are poised to access the benefits of these new revenue streams.

“Climate change is going to create many challenges within our state,” said Tim Gestwicki, Executive Director of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. “But it will also create opportunities for those interested in being part of the solution.”

To help landowners, land managers, foresters, forest consultants, farm owners, and forestry businesses better understand the new carbon protocols and markets, the North Carolina Wildlife Federation recently held a public workshop to shed light on the topic.

The event featured speakers from Climate Action Reserve, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, North Carolina State University, and the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources. Attendees spent the day learning about: 

  • The Benefits and Opportunities of Longleaf Pine Restoration, 
  • The Opportunities & Challenges of Bioenergy,
  • Biomass-Based Energy in North Carolina from Farms and Forests, and
  • Revenue Opportunities from Carbon Offset Projects with the Climate Action Reserve.

For the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, getting members of the farming and forestry communities engaged in these issues is a success in itself.

“Many people want to help wildlife but they also need to make a living,” said Gestwicki. “The best part about these new markets is that what is good for the landowner’s bottom line is also good for our local wildlife.”

Attendees of the workshop included Duke University, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina Farm Bureau, North Carolina Woodlands, North Carolina Farm Center for Innovation and Sustainability, North Carolina Biofuels Center, University Greensboro, Progress Energy, Institute of Forest Biotechnology, Division of Forest Resources, North Carolina Solar Center and several farmers and forest consultants.

“The workshop was extremely useful in explaining the potential carbon markets and how to access those markets but also the ability to leverage timber in new revenue streams for N.C. landowners,” said attendee Sharon Valentine from the North Carolina Farm Center for Innovation and Sustainability.

National Wildlife Federation helped sponsor the workshop with support made available by the Energy Foundation and worked closely with North Carolina Wildlife Federation to develop the agenda.

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