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CMI Instrumental in Completing Carbon Offset Project


CMI carbon offset project Verl Emrick (second from left) and Michael St. Germain (right) of CMI measure the diameter of a tree at the Boden Creek Ecological Preserve in Belize with the help of two preserve field assistants. Permanent plots at the preserve are used to determine forest carbon stocks in order to calculate available carbon offsets.

May 15, 2012 – The college’s Conservation Management Institute (CMI) provided technical expertise for the world’s first avoided planned deforestation project to receive certification under the requirements of the international Verified Carbon Standard. The project, conducted at the Boden Creek Ecological Preserve in Belize, follows the principles of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), an international strategy for documenting the value of forest carbon offsets to conserve forests, thereby reducing greenhouse gases.

The purpose of the project is to use financing from the sale of forest carbon offsets, under the auspices of the Verified Carbon Standard, to protect the preserve’s 12,876 acres in order to con- serve biodiversity and enhance the local economy through ecotourism. Markets for carbon offsets — reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to offset an emission elsewhere — include companies or other entities that buy offsets to meet their goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

To qualify for these carbon offsets, the project had to meet specific globally accepted standards for quantifying net carbon savings (the Verified Carbon Standard), as well as biodiversity and community benefits (the

Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard). In concert with Forest Carbon offsets LLC, CMI researchers collected data on the preserve’s biomass, biodiversity, and human community.

“The project is predicted to avoid emissions of 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere over the next 25 years,” said Verl emrick, CMI project manager.

Institute researchers documented the presence of species listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, such as Baird’s tapir, and two Belize species of concern: the yucatan black howler monkey and the Central American spider monkey. As a result, the project received the Gold Level Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard by virtue of significant biodiversity resources conserved on the property and the critical location of the property in the immediate watershed of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve.

CMI is working on two additional carbon offset projects in Belize, which are likely to be certified sometime this year.

    CNRE Newsmagazine Spring 2012 Cover

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