Convening Stakeholders: Implications of Forest Carbon Markets
The project is designed to facilitate shared understanding, strengthened connections, and support for critical thinking among key stakeholders about the potential effects of an expanding forest carbon market in the United States. As various market actors increasingly pursue a diverse array of objectives through forest carbon markets, the potential for unintended impacts to biodiversity, forest dependent communities and businesses may also increase. Our goal is to broaden awareness for achieving multi-attribute objectives on forests and other natural landscapes and to encourage consideration of complementary approaches that optimize benefits for conservation, communities, businesses, and combating climate change. Deliverables include a concept paper outlining current trends and potential social, economic and environmental impacts; a stakeholder survey; experimental mapping of intersections between key attributes; and a workshop convening a cross-section of market participants and thought leaders. This project is sponsored by the U.S. Endowment for Forests and Communities, and implemented in collaboration with Dovetail Partners.
Jurisdictional Timber Legality Risk Assessments for 33 US States
With the June 2023 enactment of the European Union regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR), companies wishing to sell certain global commodities that can be linked to deforestation and forest degradation to EU member countries will soon need to demonstrate compliance with EUDR rules. This project is focused on evaluating the risk of non-compliance with laws and regulations applicable to hardwood timber sourcing from all ownership classes in the top 33 hardwood-producing states in the contiguous USA. Risk assessment are conducted in accordance with the Sustainable Hardwood Coalition (SHC) “Framework for Jurisdictional Risk Assessment of Legal Compliance of Hardwood Production in the USA.” This project is sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and implemented in collaboration with Dovetail Partners.
Regional Risk Assessment: U.S. National Forest System
Conduct a formal risk assessment to identify and assess potential social, environmental and economic risks associated with sourcing biomass feedstock from US national forests administered by the USDA Forest Service in the contiguous 48 states. The risk assessment will employ a comprehensive, structured, and data-driven methodology in accordance with Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) standards and procedures. The scope of the assessment includes 128 National Forests covering 164 million acres in 39 states. SBP is a procurement-based system. SBP certification of the USFS or National Forest System is not possible within the SBP framework. Any mitigation actions required to address risks identified by the RRA process would be the responsibility of biomass producers sourcing feedstock from National Forests, not the US Forest Service. This project is sponsored by the U.S. Endowment for Forests and Communities and implemented in collaboration with INCOS Strategies.
FSC US Forest Stewardship Standard Risk Assessment
Research and evaluate potential risks associated with conformance to criteria and indicators of the FSC US National Forest Sustainability Standard. The objective of the risk assessment is to enable assurance efforts to focus on issues of greater risk, and reduce time spent on issues with low risk while maintaining credibility and integrity. The risk assessment is the first of its kind globally, conducted in alignment with the recently published FSC Procedure for Development of a Forest Stewardship Standard Risk Assessment (FSC PRO 60 010, V2.1). Risk recommendations provided to the FSC Working Group are made in consideration of both the likelihood and potential impact of non-conformance.
Wood Sourcing Risk Assessment Tool
Designed and developed an enhanced web-based wood sourcing risk assessment tool for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The Wood Risk Tool supports responsible global wood sourcing decisions for manufacturers and retailers of wood and paper products. The tool will provide users with a single source for evaluating and mitigating risks identified by multiple international sources. Users can search by country or by species to identify potential risks such as illegality, environmental degradation, and violations of social and human rights.
Forest Carbon Market Assessment
Completed a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the North American forest carbon offset sector for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) national initiatives in the US and Canada. The analysis focused on identifying recent developments, key trends, market projections and strategic opportunities for engagement. Deliverables included identification of key market actors; an index of standards and methodologies; an overview of evolving market dynamics; implications for forests, forest owners and forest certification systems; and suggested near term actions.
Testing of the FSC US Draft Revised National Forest Stewardship Standard
Designed and conducted a series of simulated field tests to evaluate the feasibility, clarity, ‘auditability’ and alignment with intent. Testing focused on key issues identified by FSC and stakeholders as potentially challenging. Participants included a range of certified operations and experienced auditors with expertise in forestry, ecology and social dimensions. Relevant perspectives and insights generated during the testing process were synthesized to identify potential weaknesses and friction points. Test results will inform future decisions regarding the need for modifications and/or additional guidance in the final version of the standard.
Certification Standard Gap Analysis
Completed a desk-based gap analysis of the forest management framework of a large, public land management agency against the sourcing requirements of an established international sustainability certification standard. Results of the gap analysis will inform future decisions regarding the potential to pursue a formal jurisdictional risk assessment for sustainable sourcing of woody biomass. The gap analysis was conducted in collaboration with INCOS Strategies.
Whale Safe Shipping
Completed a feasibility analysis for a regional incentive-based program to reduce threats to whales from large shipping vessels. The project, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), included an assessment of existing initiatives and exploration of opportunities to scale and/or align best practices for enhanced conservation of whales. The analysis was conducted in collaboration with Dovetail Partners.
American Tree Farm System (ATFS) Independently Managed Group (IMG) Certification Standard Revision
Completed a comprehensive revision of the ATFS IMG certification standard. As a result, the revised standard is in alignment with normative conditions of the PEFC Group Forest Management Requirements. Developed a ‘crosswalk’ analysis to facilitate transition and implementation of the revised standard.
Risk-based Approach for meeting requirements of the Netherlands’ Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production and Climate Transition (SDE+)
Core contributor to the development of a comprehensive risk-based framework to demonstrate compliance with Dutch sustainability requirements for biomass. This jurisdictional analysis focused exclusively on biomass sourced from family forests in SC, GA and northern FL. As a result, determinations of risk and associated mitigation actions could be adopted by biomass producers to satisfy Dutch requirements throughout the three-state region.
Sustainable Sourcing Analysis
Provided detailed analysis of vendor alignment with the corporate responsible wood sourcing policy for a high-end furniture retail company. Sustainability assessments were completed in collaboration with Dovetail Partners.
Sustainable White Oak Conservation Management Practices and Costs: Theory Development
Developed a reasonable and credible model to estimate the costs associated with implementing specific management practices necessary to retain white oak across its range. We also produced a summary of informed stakeholder perspectives on silvicultural, social and financial aspects of white oak conservation and family forests. The project was completed in collaboration with Dovetail Partners.
Conservation Impact Analysis
In collaboration with Dovetail Partners, evaluated the effectiveness of existing monitoring tools to accurately identify key conservation impacts resulting from implementation of the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) Standards of Sustainability for Forest Certification. Monitoring data was also used to measure and characterize impacts.