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Forest Resource Trust - Forest Establishment Program
Investing in Tomorrow's Forests Today
Forester and landowner viewing trust project site.

 


The Oregon Forest Resource Trust is a way to invest in one of Oregon’s most underutilized assets – the vast and unrealized potential of thousands of acres of widely scattered lands that once had forests, or are capable of growing forests, but currently not occupied by a manageable stand of trees or seedlings.  These are areas that might have been converted to farm or pasture, burned over by forest fires or poorly managed prior to the passing of the Oregon Forest Practices Act.  Lands requiring reforestation following timber harvest are not eligible though an exception may be granted under special circumstances.
 
The 1993 Oregon Legislature established the Forest Resource Trust – the first program of its kind in the country.  The legislature created the trust based on the recommendations of bankers, forestry analysts, private forestland owners, environmental organizations and public agencies – a group who came together in 1991 under the direction and inspiration of Secretary of State Phil Keisling.  Lands reforested through the Forest Resource Trust provide many environmental, social and economic benefits to Oregon such as soil conservation, clean water, fish and wildlife habitat, future timber availability, scenic quality, job opportunities and recreation.
 
In 1999, $1.5 million dollars of carbon dioxide emission reduction offset monies were placed into the Forest Resource Trust by the Klamath Cogeneration Project. The idea is that the new forests created under the Forest Resource Trust remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow (as trees sequester carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and store the carbon in forest biomass and wood products), thus offsetting a portion of the cogeneration project’s carbon dioxide emissions. By placing these funds in the Forest Resource Trust so that they can be used to assist landowners in creating new forests, the cogeneration project gets credit for the emission reduction accomplishments of these forests.
 
All sites are reviewed for their ability to support forest cover and whether the current non-forest condition is supporting important environmental values such as oak prairies and savannas that the landowner may wish to maintain or enhance as an alternative.

At the center of the trust’s success is the willing participation of family forest landowners owning 10 to 5,000 acres of eligible non-forested land or up to 15,000 acres of low site non-forested land. In exchange for the direct payment of stand-establishment costs, participating landowners enter into contracts with the State Forester by which they agree to repay costs plus 4 percent interest after timber harvest and to release rights to carbon dioxide emission reduction offsets to the State Forester. The State Forester can then market these offsets as a means to raise additional funds for the Forest Resource Trust. Landowners choose when and if to harvest and if there is no harvest after 200 years the forest is free and clear of the trust contract. Landowners are encouraged to grow and manage healthy, vibrant forests and have the option to buyout of the trust contract at anytime by repaying trust costs plus 4 percent simple interest. Payments from buyouts are reinvested into the Forest Resource Trust to provide further landowner assistance.
 
 
Forest Resource Trust and Carbon Offsets 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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