The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon

From the Editors at Ecosystem Marketplace

For those of us who stocked our cabinets with canned food and pored over Y2K personal survival guides in 1999, it’s hard to believe we made it this far. But here we are a whole 15 years into the new millennium and our computer clocks are still ticking, even as the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂) concentration continues to rise. Gone are the days when climate projections for the year 2020 seemed far away. We’re already back to the future and we don’t have much more time – or atmosphere – to spare.

Will 2015 be THE year when countries come to an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? How will forests and land use be incorporated in this vision? What role will the private sector play?

For this New Year’s edition of Forest Carbon News, we asked market experts to look into their crystal balls and answer the following question:

What are your predictions for the forest carbon markets in 2015? What policy, science, economic, and other developments could impact the market?

Here are some of the insightful responses we received:

“Forest carbon markets in 2015 will be in the spotlight in anticipation of the Paris global agreement. Although REDD+ [avoided deforestation] is under parallel discussions within nations, jurisdictions, NGOs, projects and governments, all of them are taking important steps forward that will converge in the near term.”

– Mariama Vendramini, Finance and Commercial Director, Biofílica

“The game is getting serious. The upcoming 2015 agreement and the various ‘no-net deforestation till 2020’ commitments of the private sector will increase the attention on forests. Sooner or later this has to be translated into cash. Will carbon be the currency? Yes, but amongst others.”

– Pieter van Midwoud, Director of Land Use and Forests, The Gold Standard Foundation

“Let’s face it. The situation for forest carbon projects is very challenging. We experience an oversupply of projects and credits, falling credit prices, and no political signal in sight which could boost companies’ or countries’ demand. Unless there will be an ambitious international climate treaty including REDD and/or national legislation allowing forest carbon credits to be used for compliance purposes, this situation won’t change, which means investments in such projects will become economically unviable.”

– Michael Sahm, Director of Markets & External Affairs, Forest Carbon Group AG

“Forest carbon markets could find new momentum if REDD+ projects are able to expand (and effectively communicate) their value proposition beyond carbon, and demonstrate their potential to link with jurisdictional and/or broader landscape efforts with complementary sources of demand.”

– Toby Janson-Smith, Director of Sustainable Landscapes, Verified Carbon Standard

“Over 1.5 million acres of U.S. forests will be registered or listed in the California emissions trading system by the end of 2015.”

– Brian Shillinglaw, Associate Director, Investments & Operations, New Forests Inc.

“We anticipate a noticeable increase in the sales volume for Afforestation/Reforestation (A/R) projects – notably from the new Gold Standard Forestry and Land Use Programme following the successful issuance of offsets from several high-quality projects. This should also lead to an enhanced perception of A/R projects as an integral part of forest carbon markets. On a more general level, continued harmonization of standards should lead to advantages for the certification process as well as the improved valuation of the diverse impacts of land use and forestry projects.”

– Julian Ekelhof, Carbon Management Consultant, CO2OL

“With more and more countries doing in-depth thinking about national REDD+ schemes, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) developments, and market-based approaches to attain their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), more and more national and regional incentive schemes, markets, and market-based mechanisms will arise as emerging economies and new geographies take up an ever-growing part of the voluntary carbon market pie.”

– Christian Dannecker, Director of Forestry, South Pole Carbon Asset Management

“I believe the demand for voluntary forest carbon offsets, especially REDD+ offsets, will increase in 2015 as compared to 2014. In addition, there will be further progress on subnational, national, and international policy frameworks that will eventually allow for the acceptance of REDD+ forest carbon offsets into a compliance market.”

– Brian McFarland, Carbon Projects and Origination,

“I think we will continue to see a diversifying portfolio of terrestrial carbon projects that are linked to improved land management. Scale and sales will continue to be the key challenges and with that will come a greater focus on jurisdictional approaches to REDD, both at a policy and implementation level. The real question is how a jurisdiction is defined. As all project developers know, community land and user rights are the foundation to build successful projects regardless of what policies are developed or what bureaucrats might think.”

– Marc Baker, Founder and Director of Operations, Carbon Tanzania

And as promised, here are your choices for the top 10 stories of 2014. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2015.

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team



As voted by our readers…


#1: California’s wish is the market’s command

In April, an improved forest management project developed by New Forests and owned by the Yurok Tribe was issued more than 800,000 compliance-grade offsets under California’s cap-and-trade program – the first compliance forestry offsets in the system. By mid-2014, forestry projects would overtake ozone-depleting substances as the largest source of issued offsets in California’s program.


#2: After a long engagement…

The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) took over the day-to-day management of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards in November, with the aim of making it easier for project developers to verify co-benefits alongside emissions reductions. More than 70% of forest carbon offsets developed under VCS in 2013 also pursued CCB certification.


#3: Carbon goes underground

In January, the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project became the first to issue carbon offsets under the VCS’s sustainable agricultural land management methodology. Developed by Swedish NGO Vi Agroforestry and supported by the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, the project involves 60,000 farmers and is focused on locking carbon in the soil.