Chugach Alaska Corporation

Chugach Alaska Corporation has entered into two ground-breaking land transactions that are helping Chugach preserve 115,000 acres of forested land in the Prince William Sound area. The project has the potential for a multi-million dollar profit for the 2,500 Aleut, Eskimo and other Native people who call the region home. Through the California Cap-and-Trade Program, this area of Chugach’s timberlands will be used to create carbon credits. A detailed forest inventory, which can take more than a year, has to be done before the project goes through California’s regulatory process. The carbon credits can then be sold to businesses regulated under the California program.

Until recently, Alaska was not allowed to participate in California’s cap-and-trade program but the Chugach project was granted approval in 2015. An agreement was signed that calls for Chugach to sell the coal rights on 62,000 acres to New Forests, a sustainable forestry investment firm, to ensure that the forest remains intact. New Forests will transfer those rights to two conservation groups, the Nature Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy Land Trust. These groups will work to safeguard the lands – a main goal of the corporation – which are home to sensitive wetlands, highly valued wild salmon fisheries and habitat for subsistence species including moose, deer, and millions of migratory birds.

Lower Brule (South Dakota)

The Lower Brule project would be the first of its kind in Indian Country to be developed under the international Plan Vivo Standard, which supports rural landowners and communities with improved natural resource management. The project will focus on the preservation and restoration of native mixed prairie grasslands and associated wetlands, natural resources that are vulnerable to conversion to intensive row-crop agriculture such as corn, millet, soybean or wheat. The goal is to support Lower Brule’s wildlife habitat conservation program and enhance the viability of native wildlife.

Yurok Tribe (California)

In 2013, the Yurok Tribe reached an agreement with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to preserve 7,660 acres of forested land. What previously was tribally-owned timberland harvested every 50 years was then set aside by tribal natural resource managers for preservation of old-growth forest. With the additional carbon sequestered, the Yurok were able to enter more than 700,000 credits into the California market, earning millions of dollars a result. The creation of the California cap-and-trade policy has allowed the Yurok to generate funds while promoting stewardship and restoring their lands to a quality unseen for generations.

Round Valley Indian Tribes (California)

In February 2015, the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Mendocino County, California successfully entered 5,550 acres of tribal trust land into the California carbon market, which was the first instance of tribal trust lands being used for carbon credits. Through the Round Valley’s Improved Forest Management Project, tribal natural resource managers are improving sequestration of forested lands and implementing a sustainable timber harvest regimen. With these changes, Round Valley has received more than 540,000 carbon credits from the California Air Resources Board.