The Denman Island Forest Carbon Project in Canada succeeds in conserving a species-rich and ancient forest ecosystem. The future of the endangered coastal Douglas fir ecosystem is secured as well. This project impressively demonstrates the combination of Carbon Finance and nature conservation. Private forest land was transferred to public ownership for the first time in Canada as part of a public-private partnership. Private landowners sold their land to the provincial government of British Columbia. With the proceeds from the sales of CO2 certificates, the government was able to jointly finance the project with project developers Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc. and the Forest Carbon Group. The governmental conservation authorities BC Parks now provide lasting protection of the area.
The Denman Island Forest Carbon Project prevents land conversions along with their damage to flora and fauna - a plus for the environment, the climate, the local community and the province of British Columbia. The island, 51 square kilometres in size, was originally part of the temperate coastal rain forest. Its tree population was largely cut down twice in the past one hundred years. Without forest management and sustainable forest maintenance, quick growing, species-poor tree and bush formations have rapidly established themselves whose ability to bind climate-harming carbon dioxide is relatively low. Today, temperate rainforests are only found in a narrow, often fragmented strip along the west coast of the Canadian province of British Columbia. 750 hectares of land were put under protection as part of the Denman Island Forest Carbon Project. The nature conservation organisation BC Parks intends to establish a forest corridor along the coast, which would provide a contiguous habitat in which endangered species can regenerate. These include long-lost butterfly species such as the Taylor's Checkerspot butterfly, which has now reappeared on Denman Island.
Social and economic benefits
In Canada, private forest owners are not obligated to reforest clear-cut areas. As regards this project, the combination of Carbon Finance and nature conservation made it possible to finance the project and avoid the threat scenario of private ownership, which would have likely meant the deforestation of large parts of the area. It also avoided the threat of urbanisation of the island, which lies off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island and which is a very popular tourist and weekend destination.