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 October 4, 2016
The largest ever Registry Offset Credit (ROC) issuance by volume occurred yesterday to the Wyoming Improved Forest Management project (ACR 249). According to data updated by the American Carbon Registry, it was awarded 5,296,651 ROCs, 1,018,876 of which proceed to the buffer for forestry reversals. ACR249 is now on track to beat the largest offset credit issuance in the California-Quebec market currently held by the White Mountain Apache Tribe Forest Carbon Project (ACR211), which gained 4,1451,645 CCOs last year.

The reporting period for the project concluded in September 2015, while all documentary uploads happened last week. The Forestland Group acted as the offset project operators (OPOs) for the project, which encompasses a total of 97,418 acres. They have been one of the most prolific OPOs, and have now been involved with 17 projects (20 reporting periods) in the ARB Compliance protocol, generating 13.41 million ROCs (6 projects, 8 reporting periods), in which 5.16 million have converted to CCOs (4 projects, 6 reporting periods).


     (ROC Issuance breakdown, by forestry OPOs)

The Wyoming Project used EcoPartners as technical consultants and Environmental Services as verifiers for this reporting period. Environmental Services and SCS Global Services have historically dominated the forestry verification market for ARB projects, however Ruby Canyon Engineering and S&A Carbon have also emerged as other participants in this space since the second half of 2015.

In looking through the documents for this project, one name that does not appear, but nevertheless played a key role in making the project happen is Encourage Capital. Encourage is an impact investment firm based in New York that has been managing a first-of-its-kind carbon fund aimed at forestry carbon projects in the California market. Not only did Encourage work with The Forestland Group to manage the process for getting credits out of this project, but they were also involved with the White Mountain Apache Project which issued 4.5 million credits last year. With that project and the Wyoming (West Virginia) project, Encourage's fund has been behind two of the largest forestry projects to obtain credits in the US market. Indeed, were they a registered APD, they would be among the largest issuers of carbon for the California market, having helped catalyze the development of over 10 million ARB-compliant offsets from 5 projects across 250,000 acres of forested land in the United States.
Just like the White Mountain Apache project was the largest ever developed by a native American tribe, the Wyoming project will not only be the largest project ever developed for the California market, but also the largest ever done on land owned by a Timber Investment Management Organization (or TIMO). This is noteworthy since TIMOs own vast portions of the forest estate in North America, and if they see carbon as a viable business opportunity, it could noticeably move the forest carbon market. Some observers have suggested that the success of the Wyoming project and the partnership between The Forestland Group and Encourage Capital should send a strong signal to other TIMOs, helping them see not only the value of carbon for their work, but also how other ecosystem services can impact forest management in the US.

The recent updates elevate the ROC backlog above the 15 million mark, with forestry forming 95% of this volumetric total. Forestry projects have been critical to offset supply in the early years of the program, with a contribution that has hovered in the 50% range through much of the past few years. According to estimates, expected demand under a full 8% offset usage scenario across the WCI for the 2015-2017 period will amount to 96 million credits.

        (ROC backlog, by quarterly periods)

With the large frontload of IFM projects in the pipeline, forestry is tipped to continue to supply the bulk of the credits in the upcoming years. As it stands currently, 12 IFM projects have been issued ROCs but are awaiting CCOs, while a total of 141 forestry projects are pending ROC issuances (IFM - 127; Avoided Conversion - 8; Reforestation - 6). When CCOs do materialize, projects like the Wyoming IFM can only help in reducing offset supply concerns within the program. will run a longer piece on this project with an exclusive interview with Ricardo Bayon, partner and co-founder at Encourage Capital later this week.


Rohan Nongpiur (

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