NCX 2022 Spring Cycle: Focusing on Family Forest Landowners
Loren Myers
Loren Myers
6 May, 2022 min read

NCX recently concluded our Spring 2022 cycle, expanding access to carbon markets to landowners across the United States and allowing them to grow older, more carbon-rich forests by delaying timber harvests. We remain committed to reducing the barriers to entry to carbon markets, particularly for small forest landowners, and are thrilled to announce that 1,376 landowners from 37 States agreed to defer the harvest of nearly 15 million green tons of timber at a price of $8 per Harvest Deferral Credit (HDC) in the Spring 2022 cycle. Companies supporting this action for the climate include Snap through the Agendi marketplace, Energize Ventures, Man Group and Patch, among others.

A look at re-enrollment

At NCX we’re making massive climate impact year over year, and we hope our landowners join us for multiple years of that journey. Outside of our pilot project participants, Spring 2022 was the first time we could offer landowners a chance to commit to another year of harvest deferral with us. As with all first attempts, we had some learnings, but we’re thrilled to see so many landowners show continued commitment to the program.

So, what went into re-enrollment? Just about half  of the participants in our 21B cycle who were eligible to re-enroll requested an assessment of their property so they could consider deferring their harvests another year. The majority of those landowners then placed a bid to defer their harvest. With most of those landowners showing a strong desire for continued participation, all that was left was to figure out the clearing price. Landowner bids that were at or below the cycle clearing price were then accepted into the cycle. As of Spring 2022, 24 percent of all Spring 2021 participants have bid and been accepted into the program for a second year and most have indicated a desire to participate in coming cycles. We firmly believe in expanding landowner’s forest management options through access to carbon markets and so we are pleased to see continued interest in our program from participating landowners. We anticipate further re-enrollment with our upcoming Summer 2022 cycle, which is now open for enrollment through our free landowner platform.

A map of the contiguous United States showing landowner participation in the Spring 2022 NCX cycle.

Price trends for landowners

NCX runs our program in 1-year cycles, kicking off a new cycle of landowner enrollment every three months. Here’s how the program works: upon landowner request, NCX provides a free property assessment that details the carbon potential of the property expressed in terms of harvest deferral credits (HDCs). Landowners then bid, stating the prices at which they are willing to defer their timber harvest. Once all landowner bids are collected, a final price per HDC is determined and landowners are notified whether their bids were accepted. This bidding mechanism enables landowners to name their own price, giving them the power and flexibility to determine if they can participate in carbon markets. Finally, a new price is set for each cycle, allowing the prices paid to landowners to track more closely to the latest prices of carbon credits and other market conditions. 

The Spring 2022 cycle’s price of $8 per HDC is the same as the base price in the Winter 2022 cycle. Each cycle we issue updated guidance on the anticipated price range for buyers, and both the Winter 2022 and Spring 2022 cycles cleared at the higher end of the guidance range, or $8 per HDC.

Cycle Price guidance Guaranteed minimum Clearing Price
Spring 2021 $10-15 / HDC NA $17
Summer 2021 $8-14 / HDC NA $12
Winter 2022 $5-10 / HDC $5 $8
Spring 2022 $5-10 / HDC $5 $8

Detailed Spring 2022 Results

Relative to prior cycles, small landowners were by far the largest landowner cohort in the Spring 2022 cycle.

Category Spring 2021 Summer 2021 Winter 2022 Spring 2022
# of
accepted participants
% of harvest deferral # of
accepted participants
% of harvest deferral # of
accepted participants
% of harvest deferral # of
accepted participants
% of harvest deferral
Small (<750 acres) 60 4% 338 59% 1,274 47% 1,064 77%
Medium (750 – 5,000) 32 11% 162 28% 430 43% 270 20%
Large (>5,000 acres) 27 85% 77 13% 75 11% 42 3%
Total 119 100% 577 100% 1,779 100% 1,376 100%

NCX has been available throughout the contiguous 48 states since Winter 2022. Landowners across 37 states were accepted into the Spring 2022 cycle.

NCX Region Share of cycle’s participating acres
Spring 2021 Summer 2021 Winter 2022 Spring 2022
Appalachia 0% 0% 4% 3%
Lake States 0% 4% 5% 9%
Mid-Atlantic 0% 4% 9% 4%
Mountain West 0% 0% 2% <1%
New England 0% 0% 14% 23%
Pacific West 0% 0% 4% 1%
Plains 0% 0% <1% <1%
Southeast 100% 92% 63% 60%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100%

Landowner re-enrollment was roughly equally amongst small and medium sized landowners, and came entirely from the Southeast as the inaugural Spring 2021 cycle only accepted landowners from the Southeast.

Category Spring 2021 landowners Spring 2022
re-enrolling landowners
% of Spring 2021 landowners who re-enrolled
Small 61 17 28%
Medium 32 10 31%
Large 26 1 4%
Total 119 28 24%

Our focus on family forest landowners

Small landowners have always been a core focus for NCX and we continue to expand carbon market access to local families through our mix of remote sensing and on the ground measurement approach. Our approach has drastically reduced the cost to participate and thus removed a major barrier to entry for forest owners looking to participate in the carbon market. Removing the cost barrier has opened carbon markets to a previously untapped carbon storage supplier: the small family forest landowner. 

This trend of increasing access can clearly be seen in our recent Spring 2022 cycle results, where nearly 80% of all deferred harvest was sourced through small landowners. We are excited to continue to work with small landowners across the country and realize our vision of making carbon sales a viable alternative for small landowner’s forest land management.

Takeaways

The Spring 2022 cycle demonstrates how a nationwide collection of forest landowners can join together to create a scalable solution that delivers immediate and verifiable climate impact in local communities across the country. We will continue to broaden access to carbon markets for individual landowners and share the details of our program to keep our engaged community informed of our progress. If you haven’t already done so, please stay informed via our newsletter, or if you’re a landowner, sign-up to get your carbon potential assessed.

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about the author

Loren Myers

Loren Myers

Director of Business Operations
Loren is the NCX Director of Business Operations. He is focused on refining the NCX business model, improving our forest carbon program design, and executing our ongoing field operations. Previously, Loren was a management consultant primarily focused on financial services and digital transformation. Loren earned a dual BA from Columbia University in mathematics and Italian literature, and was a member of the United States Marine Corps.