Bio-Engineered Trees that Capture Even More Carbon

Planting photosynthesis-enhanced trees for increased carbon removal.

Location
Georgia, United States
Category
Removal

About this Project

The planet loses 25 million acres of forest each year. On top of this, it appears that forests’ ability to retain carbon is also decreasing. There is a need to both plant new trees, and also develop varieties that will grow faster and stronger, while maintaining biodiversity.

Living Carbon is embarking on a next-generation approach to regenerating land. The project area is a idle bottomland located in the Reidsville, Georgia area within an 800 acres parcel of active timberland. Through a 30-year land access agreement with a private landowner, Living Carbon will be planting Photosynthesis-Enhanced Hybrid Poplar which is a unique variety developed by their team to capture additional carbon. These trees use a trait for improved efficiency of photosynthesis and have been shown to accumulate up to 53% more biomass compared to wild type trees. The result is increased carbon sequestration, as well as stronger and faster trees, that produce drought and rot resistant wood.

Along with the goal of carbon removal, this project will enable the landowner to convert underperforming land into a productive one without taxing the ecosystem. The project also helps generate valuable lessons learned for a new approach to land management and restoration that can enhance nature’s capacity to store carbon.

The planting format for this project is a mixed stand that will include a combination of Living Carbon Photosynthesis-Enhanced Hybrid Poplar, Grey Poplar, Eastern Cottonwoods, and American Sweetgum.

This project will is designed based on the requirements of Verra's IFM methodology and will be submitted in September 2022.

Why We Picked This Project

The successful deployment of this new approach to reforestation helps accelerate carbon reduction. Adding in the benefits of converting underutilized farmland into timberland, and restoring degraded mineland makes it truly additional. This innovative approach helps the planet through carbon reduction, and also gives the communities access to carbon finance by integrating existing timberland owners into carbon markets.

Living Carbon plans to incorporate photosynthesis-enhancing traits across multiple plant species, and also expand into areas including permanent carbon storage, metal accumulation, nitrogen fixation, fire resistance, and drought tolerance.

Both the technology (photosynthesis-enhancement of tree species) and carbon credit methodology (to be published Sept 2022) are new, which poses some risk. However, we have high confidence in the developer and potential impact.

Our Assessment of this Project

Project Developer

Timeline

Jun 2022 - Land agreement

Land access agreement signed

Jul 2022 - Site preparation

Preparation of the site for the project

Nov 2022 - Project validation

Validation of the project and approach

Feb 2023 - Planting

Tree planting of the enhanced species

Dec 2023 - Monitoring

First annual carbon monitoring

Dec 2024 - Monitoring

Second annual carbon monitoring

Benefits & Impact

Co-Benefits

  • Sustainable management, land consumption, water uptake, soil regeneration and ecosystem protection are prime co-benefits.

  • Projects are located on i) abandoned mineland, ii) bottomlands, iii) degraded agricultural land, or iv) existing forestry land. By planting a mixed culture of native tree species we enhance the local biodiversity on these lands. In the case of existing forestry land, biodiversity is maintained or enhanced.

  • Living Carbon planting projects will contribute at least $720,000 to the local economy of our project areas. By covering the cost of the planting, site preparation, and nursery propagation of our seedlings, Living Carbon advances economic equity in areas where 24-30% of the population in our project areas live below the federal poverty line. We employ local contractors, planting crews and foresters.

  • Historically disadvantaged communities are more likely to live in areas where flooding or degraded soils represent significant challenges. This project can remediate these problems by creating significant ecosystem services in terms of soil regeneration and water uptake.

Sustainable Development Goals

This project supports the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Climate ActionLife On Land

Additional Information

Vintage

2023-2024

Permanence

30 years

Additionality Summary

This project supports the reforestation of marginally productive and degraded land that otherwise would not be utilized, reforested, or replanted.