Participation in California’s Forest Carbon Offset Program: Motivations and Barriers

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Celina Szymanski (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Ruseva Tatyana

Abstract: The State of California has the most comprehensive climate change policy in the United States in the form of a cap and trade program. The program has received international attention as a potential model for government-driven mitigation strategies. Within the program is a carefully constructed forest carbon offset component. Although the program is still relatively new, continuing analyses can assist in providing feedback for improving the program and for highlighting exemplary features that can be used by other programs in their formative stages. This work investigates the forest offset protocols where there are low rates of participation. Interviews and surveys provide a basis for understanding the motivations for entry and the barriers to participation landowners face in registering a project into California’s forest carbon offset program. Six major criteria for credits are discussed (real, enforceable, verifiable, additional, permanent, and quantifiable) and preliminary findings suggest that the most serious barriers are the long time commitment, the high cost of entry coupled with a low-rate of return, and competing environmental programs. Finally, recognizing the ultimate goal of mitigating the effects of climate change, commentary about perceived barriers and recommendations for reducing barriers is included.

Additional Information

Szymanski, C. (2015) Participation in California’s Forest Carbon Offset Program: Motivations and Barriers. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
Language: English
Date: 2015
carbon-offsets, forest-carbon, forest-policy barriers-to-participation, Air Resources Board

Email this document to