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Carbon credit program aimed at family landowners expands to Kentucky

U.S. Forest Service

A carbon credit initiative meant for family forest owners is expanding to Kentucky.

The Family Forest Carbon Program would help owners of forests as small as 30 acres enter carbon markets. It’s run by The Nature Conservancy and American Forest Foundation.

The program helps those forest owners implement green initiatives on their land, and pays them based on how much carbon is removed from the local atmosphere.

Carbon credits are usually restricted to corporate landowners, or those who own at least 2,000 acres of forest.

Sean Bowers is a forester for The Nature Conservancy, one of the organizers of the program. He calls the program a collaborative effort.

“We come in, and we work with these landowners to really find out what drives them about their forests,” Bowers said. “What do they value about them? What do they want to see from them in the future?”

A U.S. Forest Service report says 71 percent of private landowners in Kentucky are families. Bowers says it’s a way for those families to lessen their financial burden.

“The income from the program allows these folks to really accomplish their management goals and get their forest in a much healthier position,” Bowers said.

The program’s contract is for 20 years with no ownership or recreation restrictions.

More about the program is available here.

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Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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