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Early Efforts - Forest Carbon Offsets
Forestry & Wood Products -- Carbon Storage
Young forest stand
 
Uniquely Oregon!

That has been Oregon’s trademark. And that trademark holds when it comes to recognizing the important role forests and wood products play in the global carbon cycle. In the early 1990’s, Oregon’s two largest electrical power providers, Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp, both looked to the forest as one means of offsetting carbon dioxide emissions (pdf) from power generation. In 1999, these early efforts spurred further investigation that led to perhaps what is still the largest operational investment in forests as a means to offset carbon dioxide emissions – the $1.5 million dollar resurrection of Oregon’s Forest Resource Trust by the Klamath Cogeneration Project. The Klamath Cogeneration Project, which produces both electricity and steam from natural gas under one of the highest standards for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, is a public-private partnership owned by the City of Klamath Falls and operated by PacifiCorp Power Marketing; a non-regulated affiliate of PacifiCorp.
 
But these pioneering efforts only form the beginning. With passage of House Bill 2200 by the 2001 Oregon State Legislature, Oregon can seize upon developing market opportunities for forestry carbon offsets so that any forest landowner that makes investments in healthy, productive forests can take advantage of this new commodity. House Bill 2200 recognizes that markets for forestry carbon offsets provide an incentive for forest landowners to manage for the full suite of environmental, social and economic values demanded by Oregonians. By recognizing the need to establish quality assurances for forestry carbon offsets and principals for their accounting, House Bill 2200 acts as a beacon and signals to forestry carbon offset purchasers and third-party verifiers that Oregon is preparing itself for credible business in this new sector. When actual markets develop, Oregon will be at the ready and first in line to sell its forestry ware.
 
Maintaining and enhancing the important role forests play in the carbon cycle is one of the seven international criteria for sustainable forestry that will be used in the Oregon Board of Forestry's update of its strategic plan for Oregon's forests - the 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon.
 
Jim Cathcart, Ph.D.
Oregon Department of Forestry
2600 State Street, Bldg D
Salem, OR 97310
503-945-7493