The AEA Urban Forestry Program provides communities an opportunity to recover costs associated with their current urban forestry program or receive funding to implement a new program through the validation, verification and purchase of the associated carbon credits earned. Technical assistance is also available to manage the trees and related resources as needed to restore and sustain the health and vitality of the resource.
AEA recognizes the diverse needs of each community, and through an integrated approach of assessment, and validation endeavors to improve the environmental, social and economic condition of a community through AEA's Urban Forestry Program.
Existing Community Forestry Programs
The goal for existing and established urban forestry programs is to utilize a six step plan for analysis of existing urban forest cover resulting in the purchase of associated carbon credits as follows:
- Inventory and data collection. Evaluate sustainability to achieve "no net loss" in any given year.
- Account for and document existing trees that are considered "additional" and validated as program trees that can be counted as carbon offsets.
- Implement a tracking program for management of program trees for validation.
- Enroll the validated program trees within the program boundaries in AEA's Urban Forestry Program.
- Submit the project report for verification with a third party verifier.
- Register credits with aggregator for sale of credits.
To qualify and be eligible to generate and sell offset credits, the projects must be additional, measurable, retired after sale of credits, permanent and not result in leakage or higher emissions created by implementation and management. AEA will certify that all parameters are met.
AEA will purchase directly from the community carbon offset credits that meet the standards for sale in the carbon market.
Future Community Forestry Programs
AEA will collaborate with communities interested in establishing an urban forestry program to provide a comprehensive approach for strategic planning, planting, management and funding of the project. AEA's technical and financial assistance can improve the sustainability of the resource and viability of long term benefit to the community. Once the project is launched and the first season's planting is completed, the six step plan for analysis as referenced above will begin.
Monitoring / Record Keeping / Results
Monitoring begins once data collection of the sample is completed. Species of trees are documented, inventories of each species recorded, and the carbon/biomass estimation is recorded based on cubic volume and weight prediction.
According to the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, a community with a well managed urban forestry program will receive the following:
- Improved soil and water quality
- Improved regional air quality
- Habitat for terrestrial and aquatic wildlife
- Reduction of storm water runoff
- Reduction in stream channel erosion
- Reduction in summer air and water temperatures
- Increased property values
- Decreased heating and cooling costs
- Reduction in costs for storm water and landscape maintenance
- Reduction in UV radiation
- Improved health and wellbeing
- Buffer for wind and noise
- Esthetic value
- Increased livability
Those interested in learning more about how this program can benefit their community can contact AEA for information.