Carbonfund.org Reforestation Project Takes Major Step in Reducing Global Warming Emissions

March 30, 2009

Tensas National Wildlife Refuge Reforestation Project in Louisiana has become the first reforestation carbon offset project in North America to achieve dual validation by the Rainforest Alliance to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) as well as the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards with Gold Distinction.

Over 600,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be sequestered from the atmosphere throughout the lifetime of the project, which encompasses approximately 1,870 acres in northeastern Louisiana, about 220 miles from New Orleans and 65 miles from Jackson, Mississippi. This region, known as the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, was once covered in dense forests, but now supports less than 20 percent of its original 22 million forested acres. Decades of land conversion to agriculture for corn, sugarcane, and cotton left the remaining forested area highly fragmented.

The project helps restore the area's native bottomland hardwood forests and wetland habitat. The Tensas National Wildlife Refuge is home to an estimated 400 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Among these species are the Florida Panther and Louisiana Black Bear.

Planting Trees

"Carbonfund.org's first-ever CCB Gold and VCS dual validation project is a major milestone for the carbon offset industry, making Tensas among the highest quality, scientifically validated carbon reduction projects in the world," said Carbonfund.org President Eric Carlson. "Deforestation is responsible for about 25 percent of global warming, meaning reforestation and forest preservation are critical solutions to solving global warming. By providing the highest quality offsets through projects such as Tensas, Carbonfund.org is enabling individuals, businesses and organizations to take responsibility for their carbon footprint, and reduce and offset their climate impact."

The Rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit conservation organization with a climate initiative to validate and verify carbon offset projects, provided third-party validation that the project meets the two standards.

"Independent external validation provides the market with assurances that this project meets high-quality environmental and social standards," said Jeff Hayward, Climate Initiative Manager for the Rainforest Alliance. "Buyers looking for reliable carbon offset programs should make sure their programs have been validated by a third-party."

VCS validation ensures that the project is designed to deliver real, additional, measurable and permanent carbon offsets. Because the land in the Tensas Project has been deforested and fragmented for over 50 years prior to the project, it is considered an afforestation-type project.

"We are delighted that this robust project restoring native forest is the first to be validated against the CCB Standards in North America," said Joanna Durbin, Director of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance. "The Tensas River Project is a great addition to the growing worldwide portfolio of multiple-benefit forest carbon projects using the standard."

Tensas Old Growth Slough

Over 100 projects globally are currently being designed to meet the CCB Standards and the Tensas Project is now the seventh project to complete the rigorous validation process. Gold status is awarded to projects providing exceptional benefits. Learn more about the VCS and CCB standards.

Among the Tensas Project's major supporters are Carbonfund.org Partners Dell, JetBlue and Volkswagen. "Volkswagen is extremely pleased to learn the Project has achieved dual validation," said Laura Soave, General Manager of Marketing for Volkswagen of America. "We're very proud of our partnership with Carbonfund.org and our commitment to offset carbon emissions and reduce our carbon footprint, ensuring a cleaner environment for generations to come."

"At JetBlue, it is important for us to align our environmental initiatives with our customers, our crewmembers and the communities we serve," remarked Icema Gibbs, Director - Corporate Social Responsibility, JetBlue Airways. "We were diligent when developing our carbon offset portfolio and are proud to support the Tensas project. We are glad to be part of such an important milestone with our partners at Carbonfund.org."

Director of Sustainable Business Tod Arbogast of Dell said, "Tensas is among the world's most sustainable forests including trees funded by Dell customers through our Plant a Tree for Me and Plant a Forest for Me programs. This certification demonstrates the strict standards to which our partners adhere when planting customer-funded trees." Dell was the first global technology company to help customers offset the emissions associated with electricity used to power their computers through its Plant a Tree for Me program.

More Support for Tensas and Reforestation

"We applaud the efforts of Carbonfund.org. Stimulating the market for high-quality forestry offsets is not only key to stemming climate change, but also provides the right incentives and funding to reduce deforestation."

Mary Grady
Director of Marketing and Communications
American Carbon Registry

"The funding from Carbonfund.org has made the Tensas project possible. This is not only in terms of the habitat preservation that the project provides, but in terms of land use for this high quality project. The project has helped in the recovery of the Louisiana Black Bear and other species. I'm really pleased to see the project attain this milestone of dual validations."

Don Morrow
Senior Project Manager
The Trust for Public Land

"The Tensas reforestation project is a great success story in showing how carbon finance is generating great benefits for climate and for conservation on the ground. Tensas is a unique area with historic significance, being the last confirmed site for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and we see it as having new significance in being a catalyst for region-wide habitat restoration efforts with private finance."

David Shoch
Vice President of Forestry and Technical Services
TerraCarbon LLC