Afognak Island, Alaska, USA

The coastal areas of Afognak Island are home to 200-year old forests, river otters, beavers, martens and ermines. Offshore in the coastal waters, sea lions and harbor seals swim in sight of humpback whales. This pristine environment also has an increasingly important environmental value: the old-growth trees sequester millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide. This creates a new resource opportunity for the forest and habitat based on their environmental benefits.

Afognak Island has retained large tracts of undisturbed native trees (180-250 years old) along with regenerated growth of trees over the past 30 years. Afognak is also home to Alaska’s largest herd of elk. The Afognak Forest Carbon Project represents over a decade’s worth of dedicated efforts by dozens of individuals, in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the American Land Conservancy, to conserve a truly unique ecosystem in perpetuity. In 2008, this pioneering effort affected a shift from timber production management to conservation management across the five parcels that constitute the Afognak Project. The Afognak forest carbon project represents the first project of its kind in the state of Alaska.

Kodiak bears and Native peoples co-existed for centuries on the island before the towering Sitka spruce trees first took hold some 800 years ago. The first European laid eyes on Afognak Island in 1741 and Russian fur trappers soon followed. Beginning in the 19th century, Americans were increasingly concerned with the destruction of wildlife and saw value in conservation. Yosemite, Yellowstone and Afognak Island were seen as irreplaceable wilderness worth preserving. Thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt, in 1907, Afognak Island was offically designated as a National Forest. Protecting Native Species Afognak is home to many species endemic to Alaska: Roosevelt Elk, Pacific Salmon, Steelhead, Rainbow Trout, Arctic Char, Dolly Varden, Kodiak Brown Bear, Bald Eagle, Marbled Murrelet, River Otter, Tundra Vole, Sitka-black Tailed Deer, Mountain Goat and Snowshoe Hare. The preservation of natural forest habitat is important for the continued survival of these species. .

Environmental co-benefits include the prevention of land disruption and the greenhouse gas emissions from timber logging. The project restores and protects habitat for native plant, mammal, bird and fish species. 

La Perseverancia Biogas Plant, Mexico

La Perseverancia Landfill is an excellent example of how a landfill gas (LFG) collection and destruction system can have multiple uses. The project destroys methane (biogas), a potent greenhouse gas, in a controlled and measured manner. The project also provides renewable electricity, and opportunities for community education. 

La Perseverancia landfill, located in Cuautla, Morelos collects waste from 13 municipalities in the state of Morelos. Cuautla is about 75 km South of Mexico City, south of El Tepozteco National Park. The development of this project is an example of a carefully negotiated effective public/private partnership between the municipality of Cuautla and Operadora de Ferrocarril y Manejo de Rellenos SA de CV. This biogas to energy plant provides environmental, social and economic benefits. It is a winner of the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation.  

Kulera Landscape, Malawi

The Kulera Landscape project provides 5-km buffer areas around three important nature reserves in the African nation of Malawi: Nyika National Park, Vwaza Wildlife Reserve, and the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, including a total project area of 217,270 hectares. These buffer zones protect forests and biodiversity, provide for improved regional governance, and facilitate sustainable forestry and agriculture in the project region. The project’s carbon credits are developed from the careful accounting and independent third-party verification of the carbon sequestered through growing trees in the project zone. 

Encroachment and deforestation of the protected areas (typically for the procurement of wood and other resources) is now significantly mitigated by enhanced enforcement. This is done hand-in-hand with addressing the environmental, social and economic needs of local communities (such as the indigienous Chewa people) to provide alternative and sustainable livelihoods. 

The Kulera project formally includes the Malawi Department of Natural Parks and Wildlife and the communities as project proponents. The project provides for the formation of Community Associations with democratically elected representatives from villages around the protected areas. Through this governance, the communities are empowered to actively engage with its lawful and contractual obligations. The communities are active participants in implementing sustainable agriculture and forestry, distribution and use of efficient cookstoves, and enforcement against poaching. Community members have also received training on conservation agriculture, natural resource management, tree regeneration, establishment of tree nurseries, and tree planting. The project provides training in business skills and marketing for entrepreneurs. Alternative energy and fuel-efficiency solutions are also being introduced into the region.

Malawi is a sub-tropical land-locked country of high mountains and deep lakes in southeast Africa. One-fifth of it is covered by Lake Malawi, which fills the trough of the Great African Rift Valley that traverses the country from north to south. East and west of the lake, the land forms high plateaus that reach as high as 2,600 meters in the Nyika uplands, and 3,048 meters at Mount Mulanje. 

Malawi ranks among the world’s least developed countries. About 80% of the population lives in rural areas, with agriculture accounting for a third of the country’s GDP and 80% of the country’s exports. With almost 20 million people, slowing, but still rapid population growth continues to put pressure on Malawi’s land, water, and forest resources. Reduced plot sizes and increasing vulnerability to climate change threatens the sustainability of Malawi’s agriculturally based economy and will worsen food shortages.

Malawi’s highland forests, rivers, and Lake Malawi provide important habitat for many diverse species of flora and fauna. The country is home to elephants, baboons, black rhinos, buffalos, waterbucks, bushbucks, crocodiles, hippos, Livingstone’s eland, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, sable antelope, nyala, Burchell’s zebra, impala, warthog, and more.

The Kulera Landscape project is registered with the Verra Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard (CCB). In addition, as a REDD+ verified project (REDD+ stands for Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), it meets high standards established by the REDD+ international framework for forest management programs and associated co-benefits such as environmental conservation and restoration, economic stimulus, training, and entrepreneurship opportunities.