Barriers to Massachusetts forest landowner participation in carbon markets
U.S. forests, including family-owned forests, are important carbon sinks and sources for carbon sequestration. Family forest owners constitute a significant portion of the overall forestland in the U.S., but little is known about their preferences for participating in carbon sequestration programs. The goal of this research is to understand what motivates Massachusetts family forest owners to participate in carbon markets. The study estimates the probability these landowners would engage in carbon sequestration programs using data from a survey of 930 Massachusetts family forest owners. Results from a random effects ordered probit indicate that under a carbon scenario similar to the current voluntary scheme, very few of these landowners would be interested in participating. Supply analysis indicates these landowners are more influenced to participate by factors other than price. Regression analysis results suggest that survey respondents are concerned about early withdrawal penalties, additionality requirements, and contract length. Forest owner harvesting plans, opinions about forest usage, and beliefs about climate change all play a significant role in the decision to participate. The study suggests that policy makers should consider the reasons behind these low participation rates, because private forest owners could play a pivotal role in the carbon sequestration potential of forests.
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