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Hawaii makes steps toward carbon offset project

HONOLULU — Hawaii is one step closer to a forest carbon certification which would allow the state to gain some money for the trees growing in Hawaii forests.

It’s a forest carbon offset — the metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) stored or canceled out by trees that absorb C02 from the atmosphere.

Wednesday, Hawaii selected the company Verra for setting a certification standard. Verra manages the Verified Carbon Standard, the world’s largest voluntary program for the certification of GHG emission reduction projects.

The certification would apply to two forest reserves in Hawaii, Kahikinui Forest Reserve and Nakula Natural Area Reserve on Maui.

According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, decades of uncontrolled grazing by goats, sheep, and cows have largely eliminated the original native forest.

Reforesting the 4,700 acres of the Kahikinui Forest Reserve and the Nakula Natural Area Reserve on the leeward slopes of Haleakal on Maui will withdraw an estimated 94,000 metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

It would also provide numerous other benefits to the people of Hawaii such as freshwater capture and storage, reef protection by reducing soil run-off, building habitat for endangered species, and decreased wildfire threats by removing fire-adapted invasive plants. Replanting efforts over the past three years have brought back over 250,000 native trees and shrubs.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case notes the selection of Verra as a forest carbon standard is an important step for DLNR in addressing climate change.

“We envision the native forest restored here, along with other project’s like this, can help to move us close to Hawai‘i’s carbon neutral goals,” Case said.

Certifying the project under Verra’s VCS, which includes the verification and validation of the project by independent auditors, enables DOFAW to generate certified carbon credits that it, in turn, can sell to interested buyers, brokers, traders, or retailers.

The forest carbon certification is estimated to cost $150,000.
Source: The Garden Island

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