The discussions of climate change and carbon footprints are important subjects within Indian country, and on February 24 the Round Valley Indian Tribes became a part of history as far as carbon emissions goes.
Round Valley and New Forests on Tuesday announced the regulatory approval of the first forest carbon offset project developed on Native American trust land for the California carbon market.
Carbon offsetting, according to carbonneutral.com, “is the use of carbon credits to enable businesses to compensate for their emissions, meet their carbon reduction goals and support the move to a low carbon economy.”
The offsetting provides funding for renewable energy, forestry and resource conservation projects that generate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The Round Valley Indian Tribes Improved Forest Management Project earlier this month received approval from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) for more than 540,000 ARB offset credits – these credits can be used for compliance in the California greenhouse gas cap and trade program.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our tribe to move ahead with economic development ventures and continue to improve our forest management systems,” James Russ, president of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, said.
Round Valley’s Improved Forest Management Project covers a 5,550-acre area of Douglas Fir and mixed hardwood forest situated on the tribe’s northern California reservation. Registering the project through the California ARB allows the tribe to sell carbon offsets in the California cap and trade system, while showing the tribe’s commitment to maintaining current forest carbon stocks. The tribe will be able to manage the forest for improved carbon sequestration and sustainable timber production. Overall, this project is a significant revenue stream for the Round Valley Indian Tribes, while allowing the tribe to assist with protection of its forest for future generations.
New Forests, managed by the investment fund Forest Carbon Partners, L.P., has provided the offset project finance and managed the projects development and offset credit sales. Round Valley is the first of 10 forest carbon offset projects currently under development with New Forests within the California carbon market. SCS Global Services handled offset verification services while the project was registered with the American Carbon Registry.
“We are proud that the Round Valley Indian Tribes chose to work with New Forests to finance, develop, and register their first forest carbon project,” said Brian Shillinglaw, Associate Director, New Forests Inc. “With the first California-compliant forest carbon project on Native American trust land, the Round Valley Indian Tribes are leaders in accessing the California carbon market to finance forest stewardship and economic development.”
Joe Dukepoo, Round Valley Tribal Councilman who also served as the Round Valley Indian Tribes Vice-President during the development of the project, said “We are proud to be a leading tribe in the innovative carbon market that reinforces our goal of sustainable forestry to maintain levels of wildlife, native plants, fish, clean water, and reduced fire threats. This project also is in line with the tribes’ mission to ensure that our future generations enjoy the benefits of a healthy forest.”