Garcia River Forest
Garcia River Forest. Photo by Chris Kelly/The Conservation Fund
At A Glance
- We sustainably manage Garcia River Forest.
- Garcia became the largest forest verified as a source of carbon reductions.
- By sustainably managing the forest, we trap an estimated 77,000 carbon emission tons annually.
- Our efforts benefit climate, water quality, wildlife habitat and local jobs.
Return Of The Coastal Tailed Frog
The return of this small frog is a big success for our restoration efforts at Garcia River. Read more >>
In 2004, when we purchased the Garcia River Forest, a nearly 24,000-acre expanse of redwood and Douglas fir forests along the Garcia River, we created California’s first large nonprofit-owned working forest. Garcia River Forest comprises one-third of the watershed of the Garcia River, and the redwood forest type that dominates here is remarkably resilient and productive: redwood trees sprout from stumps, there are few pests or diseases and the forest can produce lumber that is uniquely beautiful, durable and valuable.
Like most large timbered properties, Garcia River Forest had been owned by a succession of timber companies. This history of intensive industrial timber management left a legacy of depleted inventories of timber, a network of fragile roads on steep slopes of eroding soils and miles of spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead clogged with sediment.
Sustainable Forest Management
As a nonprofit owner, we are protecting Garcia from conversion to vineyards or second-home development. By managing Garcia as a sustainable forest, we are able to rebuild commercial timber inventories that would support the local economy and, at the same time, help repay loans taken to acquire in the property, upgrade roads and restore stream conditions for rare and threatened species.
The Nature Conservancy owns a conservation easement on the property, ensuring protection regardless of ownership, that makes carbon offset verification possible. Nature Conservancy scientists helped develop the forest’s management plan, conduct forest-carbon research and monitor biodiversity conservation on the property. Keeping the land in production will generate revenue to support ongoing forest and stream restoration work and preserve jobs within the community.
These towering stands of trees are not just housing wildlife and beckoning travelers—they are also trapping carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas linked to climate change. Redwood forests store more carbon per acre than any other forest type. Sustainable forest management of Garcia River enables the storage of more than 77,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.
In 2007 the California Air Resources Board formally adopted the rigorous California Climate Action Registry protocols for forestry, thus establishing a clear role for forestry in the state’s climate policy and adding economic value to forest carbon projects. In February 2008 Garcia became one of the first forests—and the largest—to receive verification as a source of greenhouse gas reductions under the protocols of the Climate Action Reserve. This certification recognizes forests’ new role in environmental protection.
It now provides some of the most reliable and valid carbon credits in the country to private companies and public organizations seeking to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. We are negotiating several major purchases of verifiable carbon credits to buyers interested in offsetting their manufacturing and business practices or banking the credits for regulated markets.