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Forestry-based Greenhouse Gas Mitigation: a short story of market evolution

By Pedro Moura-Costa, Marc D. Stuart
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Concern about rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases has prompted the search for methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or ways of sequestering carbon in plant biomass. For reasons of cost effectiveness, high potential rates of carbon uptake, and associated environmental and social benefits, much
attention has focused on promoting forestry as a means of offsetting carbon emissions. During the last ten years, forestry-based carbon offsets have evolved from a theoretical idea towards being a market-based instrument for accomplishing global environmental objectives. This paper provides an overview of the evolution of the market and transaction mechanism for carbon offsets and greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. Although many of the concepts and ideas presented here are generic and applicable to any type of greenhouse gas mitigation option, the paper emphasises issues related to forestry-based carbon offsets.