How I Increased My Annual Land Income with NCX
Mary Oreta
9 May, 2024 min read

Hello, I’m Will Smith. I’m originally from Maine but now reside in Chicago with my wife Andrea and our two children, Coren and Preston. Back in the late 1980s, my parents purchased about 70 acres of forestland in the western Maine town of Lovell. This property had been used to produce forest products, such as match sticks for the Diamond Match Company, since the 1920s. I purchased a 46-acre parcel from them in 2012, which includes a natural viewpoint on the summit of Stone Hill overlooking the White Mountain National Forest and the 6,288’ peak of Mount Washington. The property also abuts conservation lands managed by the Greater Lovell Land Trust. I invested in building a gravel road to access the property as well as a tent platform for camping and clearing trails for hiking. The property is currently under a forest management plan with a licensed forester.

My forest management plan is structured to promote the recreational and aesthetic value of the property during tree growth, while supporting wildlife and land conservation. To support these objectives, I began to research alternative income streams for the property that did not require an immediate harvest. We first attempted to build and rent out a campsite on the property, but this proved too difficult since I lived too far away to actively maintain and manage the site. I then read a news article about carbon offset markets which led me to NCX.

I was particularly interested in natural capital programs designed for small property owners like myself, and which would allow me to continue my current land management practices. I had assumed that eligibility for most programs was only open to properties of 100+ acres, but found that many programs are open to properties as small as 40 acres.

I was quickly able to enter my information in the NCX platform and verify my property eligibility. The mapping tools were very user-friendly, even for locating a smaller backlot like mine. Learning about all the available program options was intimidating at first, but I found it easy to find answers to most of my questions using the online help features.

After evaluating several proposals, I signed a contract for a harvest deferral program. My wife Andrea and I were excited to participate in a program that allowed us to play a small part in mitigating carbon emissions, while offering a viable revenue stream in place of a traditional harvest. Our projected annual revenue will roughly offset our direct costs for property taxes and ongoing maintenance. This allows us to enjoy our land with the peace of mind that we are fulfilling our forest management plan obligations while reinvesting our program revenue to improve forest health, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities such as hunting and hiking.

NCX was my first experience with natural capital markets and offered a wealth of program options and educational opportunities to better prepare me to enter into a formal program agreement. The NCX platform is easy to use and navigate and allowed me to compare the costs and benefits of various programs in plain, easy-to-understand language that incorporated the unique attributes of my own property.

I wish more small woodlot owners like me knew about the natural capital programs that are available to them. There was so much I didn’t know when I first began researching opportunities for my property, and I’m glad I found a resource like NCX to help me navigate the marketplace. My parents own an adjacent parcel to mine. I plan to help them navigate the NCX marketplace, so perhaps they too can benefit from natural capital markets.

For other landowners who are struggling to find the right program for their land, remember there is no “one size fits all” solution. Educating yourself on program availability, eligibility, revenue potential, and more is key to finding success. Take your time, ask clarifying questions, compare offers, and consult your trusted forester to find a program most suitable to you. An excellent place to start this journey is with NCX.

Note from NCX:

Thank you, Will, for taking advantage of the opportunities available through the NCX marketplace and for sharing your success story with us. Your innovative use of the Harvest Deferral Program featured on our platform demonstrates how landowners can manage their properties effectively while also supporting environmental sustainability. Your proactive approach shows the significant impact that individual initiative, when paired with the right resources, can have.

Here at NCX, we are inspired by stories like Will’s, which highlight the benefits of our marketplace in connecting landowners with programs that meet both their conservation and financial needs. Our goal is to provide a range of options that help landowners make well-informed decisions about their land use. Thank you, Will, for showing the tangible benefits of these opportunities and for being a role model within our community.

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about the author

Mary Oreta