Natural Resource Manager Perceptions of Forest Carbon Management and Carbon Market Participation in Minnesota

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Forests and wood products, through the mechanisms of carbon sequestration and storage, can slow the rate of global climate change that results from greenhouse gas emissions. In recent years, both natural resource managers and the public have placed greater focus on the role of forests and wood products as a solution to help mitigate the effects of climate change. Little is known about the perceptions and viability of carbon sequestration and storage as a management goal for natural resource managers of public agencies. We explored these perceptions in Minnesota, USA. Minnesota has 7.2 million hectares of forest land managed by a diverse array of landowners, from public agencies (55% of forest land) to private (45%) owners. We sought to (1) understand natural resource managers’ and forest owners’ perspectives on forest carbon opportunities and (2) understand the feasibility of management strategies that could be implemented to increase forest carbon sequestration and storage at a state level. We conducted two focus groups with 15 mid- and upper-level natural resource managers and non-industrial private forest landowners, representing both rural and urban perspectives and a variety of agencies and organizations. Minnesota natural resource managers and non-industrial private forest landowners indicated that they thought managing forests for carbon was compatible with other management goals but nonetheless represented a trade-off. However, they viewed the carbon credit market as the “Wild West” and noted several barriers to entering the carbon market, such as inconsistent carbon accounting protocols and a lack of connection between the price of carbon credits and the cost of managing forest land for carbon sequestration and storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1949
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Minnesota Forest Resources Council. This research received additional support from the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (projects MIN-42–101 and MIN-42–068).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • carbon market
  • carbon sequestration
  • carbon storage
  • forest carbon


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