Use of Conservation Easements to Secure the Role of Private Forests in an Emerging Carbon Market

This paper looks at the use of conservation easements for securing carbon benefits that can accrue in US forests. Commonly accepted rules that govern the role of forests in a carbon market are outlined, including: additionality, permanence, local conservation benefits, credit/debit accounting and third party certification. The authors argue that conservation easements are existing accepted legal mechanisms that can be used to effectively implement these rules and secure permanent gains for the climate and local conservation.