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Nature Conservancy, Blue Source Expand Realm of Forest Carbon Offsets

forestyPrivate landowners in Pennsylvania, including corporations, will be able to benefit from selling forest carbon offsets after the launch of the Working Woodlands program.

The program, a partnership between the Nature Conservancy and Blue Source, will reward landowners for forest conservation by helping package forest carbon offsets together.

The program is designed for landowners in Pennsylvania with forests of at least 250 acres.

Once it is up and rolling, the program is expected to be rolled out to other states, according to a spokesman.

Participating forest tracts will become Forest Stewardship Council certified. Forest products produced from the lands, such as solid wood for veneer and timber, as well as low-grade pulp and woody biomass, will be FSC-certified.

Blue Source will package forest carbon offsets from the lands to be sold as carbon credits on the open market.

Ongoing global climate negotiations may make forest carbon offsets more or less valuable, depending on which way the wind blows.

Brazil, which fears that it will be restricted in how it uses its forest resources, will propose at the Copenhagen climate talks that rich nations can meet only a maximum of 10 percent of their emissions cuts through the purchase of forest carbon offsets.

Others worry about how to insure carbon offsets against the risk of forest fires.

In Canada, stakeholders are trying to find ways to provide incentives for conservation, including the sale of forest carbon offsets, in the northern boreal forest.

Meanwhile, emerging research indicates that oceans and coastal marshes may provide a better carbon sink than forests.

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