Credible Conservation Offsets for Natural Areas in British Columbia: Technical Report

Dirk Brinkman and Richard J. Hebda
Edited Briony Penn
Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia


It is with gratitude to the Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia, which represents the thirty
land trusts in this province, that the authors accepted the commission to explore practical
conservation offsets. BC's new Emission Offset Regulation and parallel initiatives in other parts
of the Western Climate Initiative illuminate a new path to carbon credits. However, because BC
still has to develop guidelines and Forest Protocols for these regulations, there is still some
uncertainty on how to pioneer the pilot projects. This document is designed to help devise a
context within which land managers in BC can develop credible conservation offsets of natural
areas to the highest standards. The next step is to support the hard work of pioneering the first
pilot projects, and ease BC’s high development costs faced by first movers in other jurisdictions,
such as the Van Eyck and Garcia Forest Projects in California.

The authors’ advice in this report is supplied in good faith and reflects the limited knowledge
and experience to be gained practically in an emerging field as well as uncertainties at the date
of publication. Dirk Brinkman’s contribution to this paper is based on wide-ranging provincial
and international experience in reforestation, offset and climate change projects such as: BC’s
first land use change offset market; Canada’s first zero net forest loss offset market (Ontario
Hydro); the first methodology for Afforestation/Reforestation put before the UNFCCC’s CDM;
the World Bank’s leading Bio-carbon project, Pico Bonito, Honduras; Clinton Climate Initiative
report on Overcoming Barriers to Financing Avoided Deforestation and
Afforestation/Reforestation; four UNFCCC climate negotiations and the World Summit on
Sustainable Development; being the champion for ecosystem-based forest management theme
of Canada’s National Forest Strategy.

Richard Hebda's contribution derives from years of writing about climate change impacts on
ecosystems in British Columbia, academic research in the dynamics of ecosystem change in the
past, preparing models of climate change impacts, curating a major climate change exhibit and
as coauthor of a recent report on climate change and conservation.
While the analyses used in this report are based on ecosystem value principles, logic and
available knowledge, the bio-physics, technical, economic and options analysis are indicative
only. As emphasized throughout the report, appropriate specific project design and
mensuration data have to be validated and modeled for each project before making any
commercial decisions. Professional carbon market consultants are poised to provide these
services for conservation offsets in British Columbia and LTABC is exploring the future
relationships with consulting firms who are abreast of ever-changing international standards
and market fluctuations. Carbon and non-timber value markets are even more volatile than
timber markets, and any future market predictions made in this report are for the purpose of
stimulating analytical thinking, and should not be relied on for making market decisions.
It is our hope that ecosystem service market mechanisms will help integrate the values of
conservation into every business decision. It will be another small step towards shifting human
development to sustainability. The authors ask everyone, who shares the LTABC’s vision, to
accept the flaws in this effort to do their vision justice, and to also support the integration of all
ecosystem values into their daily lives. We hope that all people interested in the efforts of land
trusts and conservation organizations and land use issues in general share the contents of this
report with their members and audience.

To open or download full publication click the link below. 

Credible_conservation_offsets.pdf, by Dirk Brinkman, Richard J. Hebda


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