Washington Tribes exploring forest carbon opportunities

American Indian tribal governments in Washington state will participate in a pilot project to test the development of forest carbon projects on tribal lands.

The $2.45 million project aims to “develop protocols that overcome the legal and technical barriers faced by tribes in entering carbon credit trading markets.”

The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation of Washington State, which include the Arrow Lakes (Lakes), Chelan, Colville, Entiat, Nespelem, Okanogan, Methow, Moses-Columbia, Nez Perce, Palus, San Poil, and Wenatchee (Wenatchi) tribes are participating.

“This project will demonstrate and adapt innovative GHG emission mitigation strategies and management systems to help create and monetize forest carbon offsets on tribal lands across the United States,” said Gene Nicholson, Chairman of the Board of The Colville Tribal Enterprise Corporation. ”

“Due to a myriad of issues regarding private property laws, tribes have been left out of the regulatory process for federal and state sponsored climate change initiatives and this project will help tribes across the country clear that hurdle,” added Tiffany Potter, Managing Director at EcoAnalytics.

There are more than 80 forest carbon projects currently active across the United States, but only four projects listed under the Climate Action Reserve verification system are generating certified reductions credits. At present there are no active forest carbon projects on Indian reservations.

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