The green mountains are a forested landscape and many folks interact with forests for work and recreation. While about 6.5% of Vemont’s land area is human development, around 78% of the state is forested. Human activities and forests play different roles in the natural cycling of carbon. During photosynthesis Vermont forests take in about 45% of the state’s annual carbon emissions.
As atmospheric carbon builds up and creates uncertain conditions for Vermont’s future landscape, some folks are working to elevate the forest’s role in the carbon cycle, with the hope that more Vermonters will not just see our forests as peaceful sanctuaries, wildlife habitat, and timber resource, but as a key element in mitigating some of the worst effects of climate change.
For this episode I visited Tim Stout on his family land on a rainy summer morning in Shrewsbury. Tim’s family has owned this mountainside property for generations, and he’s managed the forest with intention for decades.
Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal program (widely known as current use) provides a tax benefit by enabling eligible private landowners who practice long-term forestry or agriculture to have their land appraised based on the property’s value of production of wood or food rather than its residential or commercial development value. As of January 2021, there were nearly 16,000 forestland parcels enrolled, more than half of Vermont’s total privately-owned forestland.
Carbon credit markets are an emerging resource for private landowners. In these markets a carbon credit is equal to the equivalent of one metric ton of CO2. Tim is enrolled in the Family Forest Carbon Program. Developed by the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, the Family Forest Carbon Program enables family forest owners to access carbon markets and earn income from their land.
The American Forest Foundation sells verified carbon credits to companies and pays landowners to implement new carbon-minded management practices.
Tim’s passion to create a more resilient forest and a better future for his grandchildren has connected him to his neighbors, academic experts, and to the land he stewards.
This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell.
Special thanks to Tim Stout and Northam Forest Carbon.
To learn more about Tim’s work to connect landowners with climate conscious management resources visit northamforestcarbon.com To find your county forester or learn more about Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal program visit fpr.vermont.gov.
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