In partnership with over 100 American landowners to supply net-zero leaders like Microsoft and others carbon credits, NCX completed the first full cycle of the Natural Capital Exchange. The project sequestered over two million tonne-years of carbon across 1.17 million acres of forest.
119 landowners across the southeastern United States participated in the project, electing to defer their timber harvest for one year. Using Basemap, our high-resolution forest map of the US, landowners were given an estimate of the amount of carbon sequestration potential on their property at the beginning of the project. At the end of the one year term, NCX used Basemap to determine the amount of carbon sequestration that actually occurred during the project.
The end of project measurements revealed that 105 out of the 119 participating landowners delivered at least ninety percent of the carbon they had agreed to, with sixty nine of those landowners actually delivering more than 100 percent of the carbon they had agreed to defer.
The end of project measurements also revealed a handful of landowners that under delivered on their contractual commitments. While under delivery is certainly not NCX’s preferred outcome, the structure of our program allowed us to identify this under delivery before any credits were generated, ensuring that all credits created by NCX represent real, verifiable climate impact.
Across the entire project, landowners collectively over delivered by roughly seven percent, meaning the total amount of carbon sequestered and delivered exceeded the amount of carbon that landowners had promised. This over delivery demonstrates how a large pool of landowners can drastically reduce the risk of a project failing to deliver the anticipated climate impact, as individual landowners under delivering is offset by landowners who over deliver.
Basemap measurements also enable us to see any instances of harvest activity on enrolled properties. One such activity was identified in this cycle and was ultimately discovered to be an act of timber trespass, where a portion of a landowners property was accidentally harvested by a neighbor. This resulted in an under delivery of harvest deferral credits and a reduced payment to that landowner.
Payment to landowners
Participating landowners collectively received nearly two and a half million dollars for deferring their timber harvest for one year, starting in March 2021. As mentioned above, we verified the climate impact delivered at the end of the project and only paid for the amount of carbon that was actually delivered, ensuring payment is tied directly to verified climate impact.
Using an annual approach to climate action powered by tonne-year accounting, we are increasing carbon market access for landowners, providing them a new source of revenue and simultaneously bringing scale and urgency to meeting society’s 2030 net-zero goals.
Marty from South Carolina is a third generation tree farmer who participated in this cycle of the Natural Capital Exchange. A molecular biologist by training, Marty worked in the agricultural industry for over thirty years and maintains a keen interest in sustainable agriculture and forestry.
He says the biggest benefit that NCX brings to smaller landowners is the annual contract, opening the opportunity to participate in carbon markets. It gives them choice, flexibility, and the ability to contribute.
“NCX empowers landowners, without regard to the acreage they own, the opportunity to participate in carbon markets. The annual contract is the key– replacing what many avoided as a lifetime commitment.”– Marty S., participating landowner in South Carolina with 2200+ enrolled acres
Our first cycle of the Natural Capital Exchange highlighted the white-tailed deer, red-cockaded woodpecker and scarlet tanager on our Impact Dashboard. These species directly benefit from landowners enrolling in the program, as they help maintain their habitat. With Basemap, we can model a scale of habitat quality, identifying areas of high-quality habitat in addition to healthy regions determined to be of medium quality or better.
The white-tailed deer can be found in most of the contiguous United States. Following well-used trails to its feeding areas, they feed in the early morning hours and in the late afternoon. Their diet changes depending on its habitat and the season, grazing on green plants in the spring and summer. In the fall, searching out corn, acorns and other nuts and in the winter, eating the buds and twigs of woody plants.
The red-cockaded woodpecker is an endangered species whose habitat is strongly tied to old-growth pine forests. They were once common in vast tracts of longleaf pine; now they also occur in loblolly, slash, and some other pine stands in the southeastern pine flatwoods. They often forage in small groups and can be quite vocal. They can be found nesting and roosting in living pine trees and pecking holes in the bark to keep a flow of sticky pitch around the nest cavity.
Scarlet tanagers breed in deciduous and mixed deciduous-evergreen forests in eastern North America. They are sensitive to habitat fragmentation, so are more prominent in large, undisturbed tracts of forest that your participation supports. During migration, they move through a broader variety of forest and shrubby habitats, as well as backyards. They spend much of their time in the forest canopy, where they are hard to see. They sing a burry, rambling song and give a distinctive, harsh chick-burr call.
To learn more about our program, download the NCX Carbon Guide.