The Wildlands Partnership Program
Northeast Wilderness Trust (NEWT) and SIG Carbon are embarking on an ambitious effort to help curtail the worst effects of climate change through natural climate solutions.
According to research, setting aside forests that already exist by legally preserving them as forever-wild is proving to be the most scalable, cost efficient, and effective option for carbon storage.
In an effort to dramatically accelerate the pace of regional wilderness conservation across New England and New York, NEWT launched the Wildlands Partnership program. The program offers local land trusts resources to work on wilderness conservation while receiving periodic income through a developing Wild Carbon™ market.
Aggregation: Breaking Down Barriers for Small Landowners
The project will employ a multi-owner approach that aggregates smaller properties into one, larger carbon project.
Traditionally, a minimum of 3,500 acres was required in order to offset the costs of setting up a carbon project. Through aggregation, landowners and land trusts in the Northeast can now pool resources, split costs, and enter the market.
In exchange for permanently protecting properties as wildlands - meaning no resource extraction or land conversion will ever occur - participants gain access to revenue on the carbon market that they can use to keep forests standing and storing carbon indefinitely.
NEWT has selected trusted partner, SIG Carbon, to help enroll land trusts into the Wildlands Partnership, finance the carbon project, and provide project development services. In addition to project design and development, SIG Carbon will also line up buyers for credit sales.
Said Sophie Ehrhardt, Wildlands Partnership Coordinator at Northeast Wilderness Trust: "NEWT chose to partner with SIG on the development of the Wild Carbon Aggregation Initiative for the Wildlands Partnership because they share our appreciation of wild forests, and value conservation efforts that will truly help address the climate crisis.
"SIG takes a collaborative approach to project development. They listened to us, understood the goals we were pursuing on behalf of our land trust partners, and offered us an innovative approach to aggregation, which satisfied our program design requirements. SIG also offered to manage our project for the full 40-year term, which shows a commitment to their projects that is unique in the world of carbon offset developers."
With a strong working relationship that spans more than a decade, SIG Carbon previously worked with NEWT to enroll the Howland Research Forest and the Alder Stream Wilderness Preserve in the California Climate Action Reserve (CAR). The projects were among the first in the country to register carbon credits on protected wilderness. To date, credits from these two properties alone have generated more than $580,000 in revenue to support conservation.
Through this project, SIG Carbon and NEWT are creating an aggregation model that can be replicated across the country.
Creating Future Old-Growth Forests
When properties are conserved as forever-wild and enrolled in the Wild Carbon market, they are permanently protected from development, timber harvest, mining, agriculture, and motorized/mechanized recreation.
The program ensures that every forest that generates Wild Carbon™ credits will become a future old-growth forest. Due to the expectation of permanent carbon storage, credits generated on forever-wild land are considered the ‘gold standard’ in the carbon market.