LAST PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
With our purchases of the Garcia River Forest in 2004 and the adjoining Gualala River Forest in 2011, we began sustainably managing these historic forests before they were forever lost to non-forest uses. In 2013, our Working Forest Fund, with support from the California State Coastal Conservancy, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, the Sonoma Land Trust, Richard King Mellon Foundation, enabled the purchase of the nearly 20,000-acre Buckeye Forest (formerly known as Preservation Ranch), which completed the efforts to reunite the larger forest. As owners, we will sustainably manage the land for timber, carbon sequestration and restoration of coho salmon habitat.
Prior owners of the property sought permits to subdivide and convert the forest to vineyards but there was widespread public support for saving this land. In addition to operating as one of the largest nonprofit-owned working forests in the West, remaining on the tax rolls and providing jobs — all of which benefits the local community — conservation of the property will contribute to California’s economy in other ways too. The project includes an innovative approach that allows the California Coastal Conservancy to share in revenues from the sale of carbon offsets generated across the property to be used to advance the Conservancy’s conservation programs.
Buckeye Forest recently made headlines for the Fund’s pioneering use of forest management to generate carbon offsets. Under California’s cap-and-trade system, major polluters are required by law to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, which pollute air and contribute to global warming. In 2015 we completed at $2.1 million sale of carbon offsets, reinforcing our role as a major producer of forest-based carbon offsets. Carbon sales have provided significant additional support for the forests, 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.
WHY THIS PROJECT MATTERS
Through our Working Forest Fund, we quickly acquire threatened forests with high conservation value. Over a number of years, we own, restore and sustainably manage these lands, while raising funds through carbon offsets, timber harvests and donations. With permanent conservation safeguards in place, we then return the forests to public or private ownership, keeping it a working forest that provides long-term benefits to wildlife species and local economies.
AT A GLANCE
- Buckeye Forest traps more than 3M tons CO2 from the atmosphere, equivalent to removing 642,398 passenger cars from the road for one year
- Contributes to the local economy by supporting 472 jobs
- Protects 40 miles of streams
- Provides habitat for northern spotted owl, salmon and steelhead trout, migratory song birds and many rare plants
Timberlands Manager, Working Forest Fund
North Coast Program Manager, Working Forest Fund
Senior Vice President, Conservation Ventures