Resources Sustainable Agriculture Sustainable Forest Management

A new way to profit from ancient Alaskan forests — leave them standing

Sustainable Forest Management


Sealaska, an Alaska Native-owned corporation is being paid to leave some old-growth trees standing.

Perspectives and insights

  • Sealaska and its trees are caught between two very different models of industrial forestry. One is young—since 2015, the company has made $100 million selling carbon credits to oil companies—and the other old: industrial-scale logging.
  • In 2015, Sealaska won access to the California carbon-trading markets, which allowed the corporation to sell its intact forests as offsets to British Petroleum.
  • Alaska Native corporations now have BP offset its emissions by paying Sealaska not to log watersheds for the next century, the very areas where it had once planned to cut.

Xoologue - a discussion between Xoo and Moo

Moo: Such a nice idea that allows you to continue sinning!

Xoo: You are speaking about carbon trading, aren’t you?! Hmm... don’t be idealistic, Moo. Carbon trading has been shown to produce results. Besides, are you willing to forgo your car tomorrow?

Moo: I get your drift, Xoo. We got to be practical, yes.

Xoo: In this case, Moo, its not just about being practical. Pristine forests and watersheds left intact must be  pleasing thoughts to a romantic like you.

Moo: I just like to use all of my senses and emotions, Xoo. If that’s being romantic, so be it. More to this point, Xoo, why isn’t this idea applied on a much larger scale? Why isn’t every forest in the Amazon region protected through this route?

Xoo: Excellent question, Moo. Why not, indeed, when there is money on the table? For one, this might not be as much money as what those loggers make by chopping off the Amazonian greenery. For another, it’s not just about the money. It’s also about the transparency of the region and it’s administrators, about business that work there.. it’s the whole ecosystem thing. All the same, people might be trying this out for Amazons and hundreds of lesser known forests and watersheds and other natural resources just as we speak. We just need to research further and keep our ears close to the ground.

Moo: And we will see and hear a lot more of this

Xoo: That’s being positive!