Go Zero At Garcia River Forest
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.
At A Glance
- We sustainably manage Garcia River Forest.
- Garcia became the largest forest verified as a source of carbon reductions.
- Our efforts benefit climate, water quality, wildlife habitat and local jobs.
Did You Know?
Dating back even before dinosaurs, the tailed frog is one of the world’s most primitive frog species. To survive, the coastal tailed frog needs cold and clear running water. For years, that was not the kind of condition you’d find at Garcia River Forest, where decades of intensive logging and road-building clogged streams with sediment and eroding soil. We’ve taken steps to reduce stream sediment by repairing roads, and we are monitoring waters for a healthy level of shade from trees above. And the coastal tailed frog has now been found on site, where it belongs.
VIDEO: Sustainable Forestry
Some of America’s favorite forests are the redwoods along California’s north coast. The redwood region is known for its raw beauty and rich wildlife but decades of aggressive harvesting, changing timber owners and encroaching development have left this landscape bruised and battered. The health of native species and the viability of the local economy suffered. To help protect and restore these lands, the Fund acquired the 23,780 acre Garcia River Forest, the centerpiece of one of the largest river systems on California’s north coast. Today, we own and manage the land as a sustainable working forest to restore wildlife habitat, improve water quality and preserve the traditional economic base of the local community. The Nature Conservancy holds a conservation easement on the property and works in partnership with the Fund to restore the most ecologically sensitive portions of the forest and the river.
Improved Forest Management
These towering stands of trees are not just housing wildlife—they are also trapping carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas linked to climate change. Old growth redwood forests store more carbon per acre than any other forest type. Sustainable forest management here can store up to 200,000 tons of CO2 annually.
We were an early participant in the development of forest carbon projects and the Garcia River Forest was the one of the first two forest carbon offset projects verified and registered under the Climate Action Reserve. To date, our forests have produced more than 90% of the forest-based offsets verified and registered with the Reserve. Carbon finance provides significant additional support for the forest, enabling us to repay the loans we took out to protect the properties, defer harvests when log prices are low and accelerate restoration activities for fish and wildlife.
Wildlife: Endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout, Northern spotted owl, Coastal tailed frog, and numerous other rare plants and animals
Water: This forest comprises one-third of the watershed of Garcia River
Economy: North Coast projects contributed $4.5M to the local economy in 2012
Community: Cleaner air and water for downstream residents
Standard: Climate Action Reserve, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Certified
Auditor: Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)
Conservation Partner: The Nature Conservancy, California State Coastal Conservancy, and Wildlife Conservation Board
Project Design Documents: View the project design documents
Forest Carbon: Permanently retired on buyer’s behalf