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FAQs for Forest Owners

A list of Frequently Asked Questions about NNRG's NW Neutral Program.

The following are a selection of the most frequently asked questions about the NW Neutral program. Please contact NNRG if you have additional questions about your property or eligibility to participate in NW Neutral.

Quick Links
NW Neutral® Intro. Packet

Is there a minimum acreage or stand age to qualify?

NNRG staff evaluates forests on a case-by-case basis to determine their eligibility for NW Neutral. However, parcels containing less than 20 forested acres or forests younger than 40 years old typically do not contain enough saleable carbon to create an economically viable project.


The average age of my entire forest is less than 40 years, but I have some timber that is older than 40 years. Can I still qualify for NW Neutral? 

Maybe. When determining your eligibility for NW Neutral, NNRG staff will only consider timber that is of a qualifying age. If you have over 20 acres of qualifying timber, you may qualify for NW Neutral.

How much does it cost to participate in NW Neutral?

To be eligible for NW Neutral, landowners must be members of NNRG’s Northwest Certified Forestry program. Click here to learn more about NCF membership and fees. In addition, landowners must hire a professional consulting forester to conduct a carbon biomass inventory on their property (approx. $40-$50/acre although costs will vary by property). For guidance on conducting a biomass inventory or to find a qualified consulting forester, please contact NNRG.


Can I participate if my property is east of the Cascades?

Not yet. NW Neutral’s carbon calculator is currently configured for west side forest types only.


Can I harvest timber and sell carbon offsets at the same time?

Yes. Landowners are not obligated to sell 100% of the eligible carbon volume on their property. A landowner can decide to sell less than 100% of their eligible carbon if they want to leave a “margin” of volume in their forest that will allow them to continue to harvest on a sustained basis.  However, a landowner is obligated to maintain the volume of carbon they sell for 100 years and cannot harvest timber below that volume.  


How does the payment process work?

After signing the NW Neutral Contract, the landowner will receive payment for the volume of carbon they choose to sell after a buyer is identified.  As their forest continues to grow and sequester additional carbon, the landowner may have the option in the future to sell the additional volume of sequestered carbon.


Who is buying carbon offsets?

Carbon is being purchased by non-profits, conservation-minded businesses, and brokers that are participating in carbon markets on behalf of larger corporations and utilities.


What information do I need to provide to NNRG to develop a forest profile?

A NW Neutral Forest Profile contains maps and/or aerial photographs of the property, a description of the forest and individual stands, a description of regulatory buffers/retention areas, estimates of future timber harvest volumes, and a carbon biomass inventory. A detailed description of the Forest Profile can be found on Page 4 of the NW Neutral Introduction packet.


Why is NW Neutral considered a high-quality forest-based carbon offsets program?

NW Neutral’s protocols were created by examining the leading national and international carbon offset standards and adapting them to be accessible to smaller forest landowners in the Pacific Northwest.  Some of the protocols that constitute a high quality carbon offset program include: on-the-ground forest inventory and monitoring, insurance pools, baseline deductions, and 100 year contracts.  NW Neutral was also designed to bring higher market values for landowners who already practice exemplary management.  Thus, NW Neutral represents a balance that includes real environmental benefits and accessible program requirements for participants.  


What if I already have a conservation easement on my property? Will this affect a carbon sale?

This will depend on the terms of your conservation easement.  A pre-existing conservation easement that restricts timber harvesting may lower the amount of carbon the landowner has to sell, and therefore, the overall value of the carbon. Forests under conservation easements that prohibit timber harvesting are not eligible for NW Neutral.  NNRG staff will review the terms of pre-existing conservation easements on a case-by-case basis to determine their eligibility for NW Neutral.


Does all of my forested property have to be FSC® certified in order to participate in NW Neutral?

No. However, all carbon offsets sold must originate from FSC certified forests, and the NW Neutral contract will encumber all of your forested property regardless of whether you sell carbon from it or not.


Will the NW Neutral contract affect developed property that I own?

No. The NW Neutral contract only encumbers property that is forested at the time of signing. If a landowner plans to develop a portion of forested property in the future, NNRG staff will calculate the loss of carbon biomass associated with the project, and subtract it from the net saleable biomass on the property.


What if I sign the contract and sell carbon, but then decide I don’t want to participate in NW Neutral anymore?

If you choose to terminate your contract, you will be subject to a termination fee and you must reimburse NNRG for the total value of carbon offsets sold.

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