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EFM registers first forest carbon project in Northwest

Ecotrust Forest Management’s Moss Creek project — the first forest carbon project in Oregon and Washington — has successfully generated carbon credits for sale in the carbon market.

The first five-year stream of carbon credits from the project has been purchased and retired by General Motors’ brand Chevrolet through its Carbon Reduction Initiative. In 2010, the company made a historic voluntary commitment to purchase and retire up to eight million tonnes of CO2 emissions reductions, meaning they will not be used to offset emissions related to specific Chevrolet products or operations.

The carbon offsets generated by the Moss Creek project are made possible by EFM’s forest management actions on 980 acres it manages on behalf of private investors. These actions include reduced harvest volumes, extended harvest rotations, expanded reserves and protection of important habitat. These voluntary actions go above and beyond regulatory requirements, and are guided by the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. The project, which has been registered under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), is poised to generate 150,000 tons over its lifetime.

David Tulauskas, Director of Sustainability for General Motors Company, commented that “this is exactly the sort of community-based, positive, social, and environment impact Chevrolet hoped to have with its voluntary emission reduction commitment.”

“The project is truly unique among others we evaluated.” said Patrick Nye, Senior Consultant at Bonneville Environmental Foundation, and Chevrolet’s carbon portfolio manager.

“What stands out with Moss Creek is how its production of offsets directly benefits private commercial landowners, local rural communities and threatened, endangered species that are dependent on intact forest habitat.”

The project area is situated upstream of the coastal Oregon town of Garibaldi in Tillamook County, and is located in the Moss Creek watershed which contributes to the town’s primary water source. “This carbon project will play an important role in safeguarding the quality of drinking water for the residents of Garibaldi,” said John O’Leary, Garibaldi City Manager.

EFM is seeking additional conservation easement funding to permanently protect and enhance the ecologically significant Moss Creek drainage, which is also important habitat for the threatened coastal coho salmon and potential habitat for the endangered marbled murrelet, a pelagic seabird, which nests only in moss-covered branches of large conifers within the coastal forest zone.

“EFM shares Chevrolet’s commitment to supporting high-quality carbon forestry projects that better align the financial needs of private land owners with the public’s interest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improved forest health and reduction in conversion of forests to other uses,” said CEO Bettina von Hagen.

“We look forward to providing high-quality carbon offsets to other innovative companies and working together to protect habitat, water quality, forest health, recreational opportunities and scenic vistas in the magnificent forests of the Pacific Northwest.”