Forest Carbon in 2015: Market Experts Make Their New Year’s Predictions


Every New Year, we ask market experts to look into their crystal balls (or perhaps into their own work plans) and predict what’s in store for the forest carbon markets in the coming year. Select responses are published below in our Forest Carbon News Brief, alongside the top 10 stories of the past year, as voted by our readers.

9 January 2015 | For those of us who stocked our cabinets with canned food and pored over Y2K personal survival guides in 1999, it’s hard to believe we made it this far. But here we are a whole 15 years into the new millennium and our computer clocks are still ticking, even as the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration continues to rise. Gone are the days when climate projections for the year 2020 seemed far away. We’re already back to the future and we don’t have much more time or atmosphere to spare.
Will 2015 be THE year when countries come to an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? How will forests and land use be incorporated in this vision? What role will the private sector play?

For this New Year’s edition of Forest Carbon News, we asked market experts to look into their crystal balls and answer the following question:


What are your predictions for the forest carbon markets in 2015? What policy, science, economic, and other developments could impact the market?


Here are some of the insightful responses we received:


“Forest carbon markets in 2015 will be in the spotlight in anticipation of the Paris global agreement. Although REDD+ [avoided deforestation] is under parallel discussions within nations, jurisdictions, NGOs, projects and governments, all of them are taking important steps forward that will converge in the near term.”

Mariama Vendramini, Finance and Commercial Director, Biof­lica


“The game is getting serious. The upcoming 2015 agreement and the various ‘no-net deforestation till 2020’ commitments of the private sector will increase the attention on forests. Sooner or later this has to be translated into cash. Will carbon be the currency? Yes, but amongst others.”

Pieter van Midwoud, Director of Land Use and Forests, The Gold Standard Foundation


“Let’s face it. The situation for forest carbon projects is very challenging. We experience an oversupply of projects and credits, falling credit prices, and no political signal in sight which could boost companies’ or countries’ demand. Unless there will be an ambitious international climate treaty including REDD and/or national legislation allowing forest carbon credits to be used for compliance purposes, this situation won’t change, which means investments in such projects will become economically unviable.”

Michael Sahm, Director of Markets & External Affairs, Forest Carbon Group AG


“Forest carbon markets could find new momentum if REDD+ projects are able to expand (and effectively communicate) their value proposition beyond carbon, and demonstrate their potential to link with jurisdictional and/or broader landscape efforts with complementary sources of demand.”

Toby Janson-Smith, Director of Sustainable Landscapes, Verified Carbon Standard


“Over 1.5 million acres of U.S. forests will be registered or listed in the California emissions trading system by the end of 2015.”

Brian Shillinglaw, Associate Director, Investments & Operations, New Forests Inc.


“We anticipate a noticeable increase in the sales volume for Afforestation/Reforestation (A/R) projects notably from the new Gold Standard Forestry and Land Use Programme following the successful issuance of offsets from several high-quality projects. This should also lead to an enhanced perception of A/R projects as an integral part of forest carbon markets. On a more general level, continued harmonization of standards should lead to advantages for the certification process as well as the improved valuation of the diverse impacts of land use and forestry projects.”

Julian Ekelhof, Carbon Management Consultant, CO2OL


“With more and more countries doing in-depth thinking about national REDD+ schemes, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) developments, and market-based approaches to attain their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), more and more national and regional incentive schemes, markets, and market-based mechanisms will arise as emerging economies and new geographies take up an ever-growing part of the voluntary carbon market pie.”

Christian Dannecker, Director of Forestry, South Pole Carbon Asset Management

“I believe the demand for voluntary forest carbon offsets, especially REDD+ offsets, will increase in 2015 as compared to 2014. In addition, there will be further progress on subnational, national, and international policy frameworks that will eventually allow for the acceptance of REDD+ forest carbon offsets into a compliance market.”

Brian McFarland, Carbon Projects and Origination,


“I think we will continue to see a diversifying portfolio of terrestrial carbon projects that are linked to improved land management. Scale and sales will continue to be the key challenges and with that will come a greater focus on jurisdictional approaches to REDD, both at a policy and implementation level. The real question is how a jurisdiction is defined. As all project developers know, community land and user rights are the foundation to build successful projects regardless of what policies are developed or what bureaucrats might think.”

Marc Baker, Founder and Director of Operations, Carbon Tanzania


And as promised, here are your choices for the top 10 stories of 2014. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2015.

The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at [email protected].



As voted by our readers…


#1: California’s wish is the market’s command

In April, an improved forest management project developed by New Forests and owned by the Yurok Tribe was issued more than 800,000 compliance-grade offsets under California’s cap-and-trade program the first compliance forestry offsets in the system. By mid-2014, forestry projects would overtake ozone-depleting substances as the largest source of issued offsets in California’s program.


#2: After a long engagement…

The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) took over the day-to-day management of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards in November, with the aim of making it easier for project developers to verify co-benefits alongside emissions reductions. More than 70% of forest carbon offsets developed under VCS in 2013 also pursued CCB certification.


#3: Carbon goes underground

In January, the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project became the first to issue carbon offsets under the VCS’s sustainable agricultural land management methodology. Developed by Swedish NGO Vi Agroforestry and supported by the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, the project involves 60,000 farmers and is focused on locking carbon in the soil.


#4: Daring to say no to deforestation

In June, the Board of the Consumer Goods Forum resolved to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 by sourcing key commodities more sustainably. The last 18 months has seen a cascade of corporate commitments by companies that source palm oil, and 60% of the global trade is now controlled by companies that have committed to eliminating deforestation from their supply chains.


#5: When a forest falls, Google listens

Global Forest Watch, an online tool that uses satellite technology and user inputs to map forest losses and gains in real time, launched in February. The project is led by the World Resources Institute and uses data compiled by the University of Maryland and Google.


#6: Althelia’s money flows downhill

The Althelia Climate Fund made its first direct investment in February, pledging $10 million toward the Taita Hills project in Kenya developed by Wildlife Works. Later in the year the United States Agency for International Development guaranteed the Fund to the tune of $133.8 million.


#7: REDD reigns in the rainforest

After spending three years developing a payments for ecosystem services framework, the state of Acre in the Brazilian Amazon saw its first payments for forest-based emissions reductions, with money flowing from German development bank KfW.


#8: Live from New York

During Climate Week in New York City in September, a coalition of government, business, civil society, and indigenous leaders committed to ending deforestation by 2030 and halving it by 2020. If successfully implemented, the New York Declaration on Forests will prevent the emission of between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tonnes of CO2 each year.


#9: Turning over a new leaf

The demand for forest carbon offsets grew 17% in 2013, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 report. A total of 32.7 million offsets were transacted tying 2010 for the highest demand ever tracked though average prices fell to $5.2 per tonne.


#10: Big data

In June, Brazil became the first country to submit data on the emissions reductions achieved through forest protection to the United Nations a key step in the REDD process. At the climate talks in Lima, Peru in December, five more countries Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Mexico submitted the data that will be used to determine deforestation reference levels.



Carbon Research Assistant Ecosystem Marketplace

Based in Washington D.C., the Research Assistant will be able to commit to 35-40 hours per week to support a range of activities under the Ecosystem Marketplace Carbon Markets Program, including supporting the development of the State of the Forest Carbon/Voluntary Carbon Markets reports. The ideal candidate will have a graduate degree, an interest in conservation finance/payments for ecosystem services and basic knowledge of the carbon markets or another ecosystem service market; excellent writing, verbal communications, research and organizational skills; and excellent working knowledge of Microsoft Excel.

Read more about the position here


Climate Change Forester California Air Resources Board

Based in Sacramento, California, the Climate Change Forester will help implement the compliance offset program under California’s cap-and-trade program. The most competitive candidates will possess a demonstrated ability to plan, organize, and evaluate highly complex data and to develop recommendations on the issuance of compliance offset credits. Practical experience estimating GHG emissions or sequestration from offset projects through the use of an offset protocol is a plus.

Read more about the position here


Senior Land and Water Officer Food and Agricultural Organization

Based in Rome, Italy, the Senior Land and Water Officer will work towards enhancing the agricultural productivity and sustainable use of land and water resources through improved tenure, management, development, and conservation. The position involves managing multi-disciplinary teams and implementing and monitoring programs. The ideal candidate is results focused with 10 years of experience in a relevant field and working knowledge of English, French, or Spanish as well as limited knowledge of one of the other two, or Arabic, Chinese, or Russian.

Read more about the position here


Policy Manager, Ecosystem Services Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

Based in Bonn, Germany, the Policy Manager for Ecosystem Services will manage the development of FSC’s Procedure for the Maintenance and Enhancement of Ecosystem Services, including methods for impact evaluation. The successful candidate will have at least five years of professional experience in a relevant field, be skilled in data and content management systems, and be fluent in English (knowledge of Spanish and/or French are a plus.)

Read more about the position here


Campaign Director, Forests, Land and Climate Global Witness

Based in London, United Kingdom, the Campaign Director will maintain Global Witness’ international leadership on environmental issues including protecting tropical forests and preventing land grabs and provide leadership to passionate and dedicated campaign teams. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrable track record as a dynamic leader and campaigner in international advocacy and excellent understanding of Global Witness’ work. The position involves overseas travel for investigations, lobbying and research.

Read more about the position here


Consultant for Green Rubber Project Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Based anywhere, the consultant for CIFOR’s Green Rubber Project will analyze the range of obstacles that prevent the emergence of “green” rubber production that enhances ecosystem services and contributes to women’s empowerment and poverty alleviation. The position involves identifying policy and governance mechanisms to overcome these barriers. The successful candidate will have an advanced degree in forestry, agriculture, natural resources management or another related field and at least three years of work or study experience in one or more of the target countries: Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and China.

Read more about the position here

ABOUT THE FOREST CARBON PORTALThe Forest Carbon Portal provides relevant daily news, a bi-weekly news brief, feature articles, a calendar of events, a searchable member directory, a jobs board, a library of tools and resources. The Portal also includes the Forest Carbon Project Inventory, an international database of projects including those in the pipeline. Projects are described with consistent ‘nutrition labels’ and allow viewers to contact project developers.

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