The American Forest Foundation Expands Access to Carbon Markets for Underserved Landowners
The American Forest Foundation (AFF), a national conservation non-profit that specializes in family-owned forestland, today announced that Bank of America has provided a $230,000 grant to help support AFF’s Family Forest Carbon Program. The program is uniquely designed to provide small-acreage and underserved landowners access to carbon markets.
“To make real progress in our ambitious goals to fight climate change, we must ensure underserved family forest owners are a part of the solution,” said Tatiana Height, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the American Forest Foundation. “Bank of America’s commitment will help us continue to expand our reach to underserved landowners so that everyone has access to the resources they need to fulfill their land goals and help better the planet.”
Lack of technical knowledge, coupled with high upfront costs of implementation, create barriers for family forest owners to access the carbon market. The Family Forest Carbon Program tackles these challenges by providing small landowners professional guidance, educational support and financial assistance to actively engage in forestry practices that improve forest health and increase carbon sequestration and storage, unlocking their financial potential in the carbon market. The program plans to adapt and grow its offerings in the Southern United States to ensure enrollment in the program mirrors the demographics of the counties in which it is operating.
“The Family Forest Carbon Program is mobilizing small woodlot owners to help expand the role of forests in tackling climate change,” said Rich Brown, Environmental Program director at Bank of America. “By supporting this program, we are helping to expand this innovative initiative while also directly building more equitable solutions and economic opportunities for minority landowners. The goal is to enable minority landowners to be at the forefront of sustainability efforts and part of a larger carbon market solution.”
Thirty-nine percent of U.S. forests are owned by families and individuals, the largest portion of our country’s woodlands, with roughly seven percent (PDF) cared for by minority landowners. Bank of America’s support will help provide underserved family forest owners across the southern United States with financial support to improve forest health and help address climate change through their woodlands. The funds will be focused on research, development and adaptation programs.
The Family Forest Carbon Program is currently enrolling landowners in Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia, with plans to expand enrollment into the South in early 2023. The grant from Bank of America will support underserved family forest owners in North Carolina and South Carolina.
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The American Forest Foundation (AFF) is a non-profit conservation organization that protects and measurably increases clean water, wildlife habitat, and sustainable wood supplies that come from family-owned forests. AFF works with landowners, partners, leading businesses, and policymakers to address key issues such as conserving biodiversity, reducing risk of catastrophic wildfire, and addressing the threat of climate change. To learn more about the American Forest Foundation and the Family Forest Carbon Program, go to www.forestfoundation.org/carbon.
Kelly Sapp, Bank of America
Kristen Voorhees, American Forest Foundation