Garcia River Forestry
The Garcia River Forest project uses conservation-based forest management to absorb and store carbon emissions while restoring wildlife habitat and protecting water quality.
The Garcia River Forest project is located in the coastal mountain range of Southwestern Mendocino County, California. The project was initiated in early 2004 with the goal of returning a 24,000 acre, under-stocked tract of coastal forest to an ecologically and economically viable state through conservation-based forest management. The Garcia River Forest project will absorb and store carbon emissions by ensuring high forest growth rates and the development of a larger, denser composition of redwood and douglas fir.
Like many forests in the region, Garcia River has a history of logging, gravel mining and grazing, causing soil erosion and clogging the rivers with sediment. As a result, the deteriorating water quality led to declining numbers of Garcia River’s Coho and Steelhead salmon. Coupled with this eroding habitat, the forests could only generate a modest income from timber, exposing it to the risk of being sold off or divided into smaller holdings.
With competing land use interests, conservationists are struggling to finance forestland acquisitions to protect the most sensitive natural areas. The Garcia River Forest is one of the first forests recognised by CAR as a verified source of carbon credits supporting such conservation activities. Conservation-based forest management involves the long-term management of the forests which helps rebuild inventory and store carbon, whilst protecting water quality and restoring wildlife habitat for terrestrial and aquatic species. To maximise the climate and environmental co-benefits, these forests have been secured under a perpetual easement clause within CAR that requires the project land area to be permanently used for forest purposes.