Project Hosting is carbon-speak for the role of the landowner in our schemes. The trees are planted or 'hosted' on land belonging to, say, a farmer, a large estate, or a local authority, but the seedlings themselves, the planting, the expertise and other aspects of the process are funded by others. If the FAQs don't answer all your questions please give us a call.
You can call us to discuss possibilities and in particular to establish whether your proposal is likely to qualify as ‘additional’. This would be followed with a simple application form asking for your:
• scheme description, including species mix and predicted yield classes, derived from Ecological Site Classification (ESC)
• scheme objectives, method statement and management plan
• financial statement – to test additionality (see next FAQ for more on this)
Forest Carbon will assess carbon capture potential over a given period following discussions to do with species, planting area, etc. We then identify a suitable buyer and discuss price with both parties. When the landowner ‘s offer is accepted we will prepare contracts between landowner and buyer for both parties, and Forest Carbon, to sign.
Additionality is the fundamental principle of carbon finance and simply put is the ability to demonstrate that without the intervention of finance from carbon the project in question could not have proceeded. For a scheme to qualify as a carbon woodland we must be able to demonstrate additionality in three ways:
1. Financial, i.e. that it could not proceed without the additional funding delivered through the sale of the carbon capture arising from the planting. The appraisal method used to demonstrate the financial barrier to creating the woodland will depend on the landowner’s particular situation, eg:
• Cash flow – straight or discounted: carbon finance can overcome the barrier of a relatively short-term cash deficit (e.g. where a borrowing facility is limited). NB: Forestry Commission grant aid for woodland creation is paid out only after the trees are in the ground.
• Negative net financial position - e.g. shown via IRR or NPV. The effect on land value where permanent woodland is planted has to be taken into account.
• The opportunity cost – the permanent loss of land with potentially more profitable uses.
2. Legal: A tree-planting scheme is not ‘additional’ if the landowner is facing an obligation to plant those trees – e.g. the re-stocking of a felled area. The same would apply to a property developer whose planning permission required the provision of a woodland area.
3. Behavioural: An existing woodland creation plan that lacks a proven intent to plant for the purpose of carbon capture will not qualify as an additional scheme – i.e. if a scheme was already conceived or underway for aesthetic, commercial or other reasons, it cannot be ‘rebranded’ as a carbon woodland scheme.
For non-productive woodlands it will typically be between 50 and 100 years depending on species mix and owner’s preference. A high percentage of oak, for example, would suggest a period towards the longer end to maximise carbon capture. Some owners, however, will prefer a shorter contract period even if this results in a lower carbon value.
For productive schemes this will normally be the first rotation (however the carbon on subsequent rotations may not be saleable), although in the case of continuous cover forestry the duration may be longer.
Yes, provided you meet the additionality requirement.
Our current schemes are nearly all non-productive, because many buyers like the notion of wild native forest, but there’s a mounting awareness of the environmental benefits of the productive native or mixed woodland. They are managed so as to maintain a protective continuous canopy which means both biodiversity and the carbon store are preserved. In addition, when the carefully harvested mature trees become furniture and roof trusses, the sequestered carbon remains locked in. Meantime, constant re-planting (and the avoidance of natural decay which releases some CO2) keeps the ‘fresh air factory’ operating to full capacity.
This is a difficult one to answer - it will depend in part on how far progressed your woodland plans are.
We have in the past placed projects with carbon buyers within a handful of weeks (even if planting was still a way off), and sometimes we begin talking to you right at the outset of your thinking and the whole process (planting, carbon sale, payment) is completed two years later. Every project is unique in this regard.
The Woodland Carbon Code is the government's audit process, allowing potential carbon buyers to be reassured that the projects they might invest in is well designed, managed properly, does no environmental harm, and has accurate carbon capture projections. Most importantly: the Code confirms to buyers that the project meets the 'additionality' rule.
The Code is important - it offers credibility to the carbon capture arising from your potential woodlands, and makes them more marketable.
As far as the process of gaining WCC accreditation goes - that's where we come in. We'll do it all for you.
We work with many organisations to create our carbon woodlands, including:
The Crown Estate
The National Trust
Central Scotland Forest Trust
The National Forest
Buccleuch Woodlands Ltd
Borders Forest Trust
SAC (now part of SRUC)