Southwestern Forest Restoration: Reduced Emissions from Decreased Wildfire Severity and Forest Conversion
The American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, has in the approval process a new Improved Forest Management methodology entitled Southwestern Forest Restoration: Reduced Emissions from Decreased Wildfire Severity and Forest Restoration. The Methodology was developed by Sagebrush & Pine Consulting with support from the National Forest Foundation, Northern Arizona University, the University of New Mexico and the Environmental Defense Fund.
Forests of the American southwest are adapted to high frequency, low-severity fires. Due to past management practices that suppressed fire, these forests are now experiencing high severity stand replacing fires at a rate and scale which is uncharacteristic. In order to counter this trend, the United States Forest Service (USFS) and other federal, state, and tribal land management agencies are developing restoration projects using fuels treatments (e.g. thinning) and prescribed fire. The goal of these projects is to protect local communities, critical infrastructure and ecological resources by removing excess fuels and re-instating low severity surface fires that restore ecological functions.
The new methodology provides a carbon accounting framework for the measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of avoided GHG emissions from reduced risk of high severity fire through fuels reduction treatment and continued GHG sequestration by remaining forests, post-treatment. The methodology is intended to leverage carbon finance to help develop landscape scale restoration projects in the southwestern U.S., and may be adapted in the future for other regions and forest ecosystem types.
Public Comment Period and Stakeholder Webinar
The Methodology was open for public comments through August 17, 2016 and is now is scientific peer review.