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Implications for the United States

As Americans consider the role of forests in climate mitigation and possible mechanisms for rewarding forest-related carbon sequestration, it makes sense to look at how other nations and regions are proceeding with forest carbon sequestration programs. This article focuses on such programs in Asia, a region that may someday serve as a major source of forest-based carbon credits for American buyers.

While only a few Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) projects have been initiated in Asia to date, a number of recent developments may contribute to a much greater role for the region in the near future. These developments include increasing government support for forest-based projects in many Asian countries, improvements in standards and carbon accounting for forest projects, and building momentum to include forest conservation projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Several initiatives in emissions trading may also offer increased markets for forest-based credits.

The United States could play an important role in driving demand for forest-based credits, both in the short and long term. If the US joins the regulated carbon market, it is expected to quickly surpass Europe in carbon trades as its key industries become regulated. With the US seemingly more open to forest-based credits than Europe, U.S. involvement could offer a huge boost in demand for such credits. However, many issues need to be resolved to clearly define the role of forest-based carbon credits in global emissions trading.

Recent projects