Conservancy clarifies carbon talk

The Land Conservancy challenges Black Press columnist's comments

Re: Greenhouse gas leaks from Pacific Carbon Trust (B.C. Views, April 3)

Tom Fletcher’s column perpetuates factual errors that fail to inform any debate regarding a carbon neutral government.

When The Nature Conservancy of Canada purchased Darkwoods in 2008, our expensive, long-term commitment to the conservation lands began.

From the outset, revenue from carbon sales was seen as critical to supporting this stewardship effort. Without the possibility of carbon sales, NCC could not have undertaken a project of this size and scope. Yet, those facts are conveniently overlooked by Mr. Fletcher.

Independent evaluations were not based on the possibility of NCC clear-cutting the property, but rather on what would have happened had NCC not acquired Darkwoods. The alternative was acquisition by a market-based buyer and being intensively logged and subdivided. The difference forms the basis for carbon valuation.

Mr. Fletcher asks, rhetorically, if NCC would have logged Darkwoods. “Legally, it could not,” he writes.

On the contrary, NCC does log the site. We operate a small, sustainable harvest based on conservation values.

In fact, overall our ownership of Darkwoods has resulted in a $13-million economic benefit to the community, to date.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada spent three years developing the project and exercised due diligence at every step, while working with various industry experts. The project is certified under the Verified Carbon Standard; a standard that ensures a carbon project follows internationally recognized protocols and has tangible environmental benefits.

Without revenue from forest carbon, the long-term protection of this 55,000-hectare property would be in jeopardy. The proceeds from the carbon sales went back into the long-term stewardship of Darkwoods—for the sake of nature and the people of British Columbia.

Tom  Swann

associate regional vice-president, B.C.

Nature Conservancy of Canada