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Policy processes, institutional participants, and management programs : foundations for establishing a market for forest carbon in Canada Harkin, Zoe Elizabeth

Abstract

The 'Kyoto Protocol', signed by the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1997, allows countries to use carbon sequestered in forests as a means to meet internationally binding Greenhouse Gas reduction targets. This carbon can potentially be traded, thereby providing a non-timber revenue to forest growers. Forests managed for carbon storage achieve a range of additional forest management objectives such as biodiversity management, land aesthetics and water quality protection. To maximize the social, economic and environmental benefits of both emissions trading and forest carbon sinks, foundations for sound forest carbon management must be established on three levels: processes, participants and programs. A sound forest carbon policy making process will provide the foundation for a credible market for forest carbon. To address the issue of permanence, the implementation 100-year time limited profit á prendre legislation is described. A logical framework is devised to facilitate cooperation between the seven key institutional participants in the market for forest carbon. The proposed 'National Carbon Network' is designed to facilitate efficient data exchange among the key institutional participants in a way that is cost-effective, yet verifiable at an operational, national and international level. A 'carbon refund scheme' is proposed to provide incentives for efficient forest carbon inventory. A carbon pooling structure is planned to spread risk of carbon loss among a number of forest carbon owners. An operational level forest carbon accounting and management program is formulated to provide a transparent and verifiable means of measuring, reporting and trading forest carbon. The program consists of ten steps and was designed to interface with existing vegetation inventories. The carbon accounting program aims to provide incentive for investment in additional forest carbon management by describing a variable carbon accounting system.

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