Our national drafting group developed two urban forest carbon protocols for two different types of urban forest projects - planting projects and preservation projects. These protocols are the "rulebooks" projects have to follow to earn urban forest Carbon+ Credits:

If projects follow the protocol, the Registry issues Greeen City Carbon+ Credits to the project. We call these Carbon+ Credits because they don't have just one metric ton of CO2. They also include quantified stormwater runoff reductions, energy savings (cooling), and air quality benefits.The project can sell those Carbon+ Credits to buyers. Cash flows from the buyers to the projects.

How Does the Urban Forest Carbon Registry Work?

 The diagram and explanatory text below show how the carbon credit process works.


Start at the top left of the diagram at the green box labelled “Carbon Project:”

  • The Carbon Project follows the rules in the Registry’s carbon protocols.
  • The Registry provides information and assistance to help Projects, and also helps recruit a buyer for the credits.
  • The Registry issues carbon credits to the Project (after verifying that the Project has followed the rules). Then……
  • The Project sells its credits to a Buyer. Projects may recruit a local company as buyer.
  • The Buyer’s dollars for the credits flow directly to the Project (minus a small fee to the Registry, which is a non-profit entity).
  • The Project can use those dollars for any use – to defray planting and maintenance of project trees, to start other projects, or for anything else. 

Two Types of Urban Forest Projects:  Planting and Preservation

Planting projects involve the planting of trees that will store carbon dioxide and generate carbon credits for sale.  These projects can take place anywhere within our definition of the urban areas, which is essentially metropolitan areas, city and town boundaries, source water protection zones, or transportation rights of way.

The Registry has developed spreadsheets that guide a project manager to collect and enter data for their project.  The spreadsheet then calculates carbon storage, co-benefits, and carbon credits.

Preservation projects involve the protection of existing trees that are at some risk of removal. The protection must take the form of an easement for trees on private land, or a management plan or protected status for trees on public land.

Carbon storage in the protected trees is quantified through five steps described in the protocol. The quantified carbon then yields an amount of credits that can be sold.

More Information

For more info, see Info for Projects