An assessment of forest landowner interest in selling forest carbon credits in the Lake States, USA

Kristell A Miller, Stephanie A Snyder, Michael A. Kilgore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The nation's family forest lands can be an important contributor to carbon sequestration efforts. Yet very little is known about how family forest landowners view programs that enable them to sell carbon credits generated from the growth of their forest and the compensation that would be required to encourage a meaningful level of participation. To address this information gap, we conducted a study to identify and quantify family forest landowner interest in participating in a voluntary carbon market trading program in the Lake States, USA. A mail survey was administered to 2,200 randomly selected family forest owners in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The questionnaire assessed landowner interest in participating in a hypothetical carbon credit trading program and sought information on landowner objectives and practices, perspectives on carbon credit programs and forest land characteristics. A total of 850 usable responses were received. A logistic regression model was developed to examine the factors affecting participation in a forest carbon offset project by family forest owners and estimate landowner participation probability. Results show that carbon program characteristics alongside landowner and parcel characteristics are associated with the decision to participate in a carbon credit program. Specifically, carbon credit payment amount, contract length, gender, value placed on other non-market forest amenities, need for additional income, attitude towards climate change, absentee status, land tenure and total acres owned were found to be significant determinants. Our findings indicate that carbon sequestration management may align with the ownership goals of many family forest owners in the Lake States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalForest Policy and Economics
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work supported by the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station .

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Carbon offset
  • Family forest owners
  • Forest carbon credits
  • Willingness to accept


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