Carbon Offset Firm Expands Offering to Smaller Southern Land Owners

New York, NY, August 1, 2023-"One of the country’s largest forest-carbon firms is launching a platform to enable Southern-timberland owners to sell carbon offsets on properties as small as 40 acres, expanding a market that has mostly been limited to owners of vast wooded tracts,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Finite Carbon, which is majority owned by energy giant BP said it would begin this month to enroll landowners in 13 Southern states in the program. It will pay them quarterly if they agree to not cut down trees for 20 years and then maintain a steady volume of standing timber on their property for another two decades. The trees must be big enough to be salable at the time the no-cut contract is signed.

“Finite has arranged more than $900 million of forest-carbon deals for large U.S. landowners such as timberland investment firms, conservation groups and tribes, dispatching foresters to remote woodlands to measure trees and calculate how much carbon is held on properties that are tens of thousands of acres. 

“That is only economical for big tracts, so Finite is using Forest Service data, satellite imagery and computer programs to determine how many offsets smaller landowners can sell if they promise not to cut, said Finite Chief Executive Sean Carney.

“Mercuria Energy Group agreed to buy the offsets through a Tennessee startup that the Swiss commodities trader backs called LandYield. Mercuria plans to hold some of the forest credits-each representing a metric ton of sequestered carbon-to offset emissions generated by its fossil-fuel businesses and to sell the rest to other companies looking to reduce their own carbon footprints, said Josh Fain, LandYield’s director of operations.”