New Report: Innovative Finance Tools Key to Activating Nature Based Climate Solutions

Report outlines the underutilized yet critical role of family forests in climate change mitigation, calls for investment in voluntary carbon market.
Sep 13, 2023 9:30 AM ET
landscape of trees

WASHINGTON, September 13, 2023 /3BL/ - The American Forest Foundation (AFF), a national nonprofit that empowers family forest owners to create meaningful conservation impact, released a report today emphasizing how investment in family-owned forests in the United States is a critical but underutilized tool in the fight against climate change. The report, Boosting the Power of Corporate Investment in the Fight Against Climate Change, reveals that innovations to carbon programs and financing models are essential to build and scale a voluntary market that maximizes climate impact and benefits rural landowners.

“This new report makes it crystal clear: innovative investment tools are needed to unlock the power of family forests for climate action now,” said Rita Hite, President and CEO of AFF. “Today’s climate crisis requires a holistic, collaborative, and coordinated response from the world’s leading institutions and family landowners alike. Together, we must decarbonize the global economy by both drastically reducing emissions and drawing more carbon out of the atmosphere through natural climate solutions.”

The report, authored by AFF’s climate science and financing teams, outlines solutions to common concerns about carbon markets such as additionality and permanence, as well highlights the benefits of dynamic baseline methodologies and calls for improved financial models that account for the dynamism and complexity of natural systems, mainly:

  • Improving acceptance standards for setting and updating baselines in carbon projects on the voluntary carbon market
  • Pull learnings from established markets – like agriculture – to adopt similar risk-sharing models and enhance the financial feasibility of projects without affecting their integrity
  • Prioritize projects that use innovative financing models to underwrite uncertainty and distribute risk among all stakeholders, including federal agencies, carbon financiers, project developers, private philanthropies and carbon credit buyers

“By leveraging the innovative financing mechanisms outlined in the research, the private sector could facilitate the development of high-integrity carbon credits and catalyze the growth of the entire market,” said Nate Truitt, AFF’s Executive Vice President of Climate Funding. “New financing methods can fund higher quality nature-based projects in the United States – projects that restore forests and grasslands, advance coastal resilience, reduce the harmful impacts of wildfires, and improve agricultural practices on millions of acres – all while providing crucial economic support to rural communities.”

Spotlighted in the report is the investment of leading carbon programs, such as AFF and The Nature Conservancy’s Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP). A leader in the field, FFCP sets the example of a program that benefits both private landowners and companies alike. The program provides annual payments and technical support to enrolled landowners to implement forest management practices that are scientifically proven to enhance carbon capture and storage, improve forest health, and provide other important ecosystem benefits. The carbon generated by landowners enrolled in FFCP is measured and verified by a first-of-its-kind forest carbon accounting methodology that improves accuracy and transparency for the marketplace. By measuring the difference between similar forests, the methodology pinpoints the program as the sole variable that created additional carbon benefit on enrolled landowners’ property.

Access the full report: 


About The American Forest Foundation

The American Forest Foundation is a national conservation organization that works with a broad coalition of partners to empower family forest owners to make a meaningful conservation impact around carbon sequestration, wildfire reduction, wildlife habitat, clean water, sustainable wood supplies and support for rural communities.  To learn more about the American Forest Foundation and the Family Forest Carbon Program, go to