Carbon Offset Opportunity Mapping

Carbon Offset Opportunity Mapping Overview - March 2, 2011

Carbon offset opportunity mapping was developed based on MPB impact and opportunity mapping and is therefore an additional set of mapping products to be used in conjunction with the other MPB related information that is available. This information is intended to be used at a strategic level when assessing which areas within a management unit might have moderate, high or very high potential for the application of carbon offsets as part of site rehabilitation and silviculture activities.

These maps are not intended to replace on-the-ground verification but should provide end users with approximate locations of the areas with the highest potential to save some search time and costs. Forest resource managers should only use this information as one step in the process to verify where the optimal opportunities for applying carbon offsets are to be found in any given management unit.

The map identifies potential opportunities for reforestation within the management unit. Areas identified as having ‘very high’ opportunity for harvesting have been removed from the map, as they represent potentially economically viable stands. The reforestation opportunities are based on a scoring system that assigns a relative ranking based on the following parameters:

  • Timber harvest – Recently harvested areas, as identified in the VRI and from satellite imagery, represent poor opportunities for carbon offsets as they would already have reforestation and silviculture obligations under existing legislation.
  • Attack severity – Sites are assigned to one of four classes ranging from very severe, severe, moderate to light. More severely attacked areas receive a higher opportunity rating. Stands not subject to attack are not considered to provide opportunities.
  • Attack status – Sites are assigned to one of four attack status classes: red, new grey, old grey and no attack. The older the attack status (e.g., old grey), the higher the carbon offset opportunity.
  • Site accessibility – Sites are assigned to one of four classes based on their proximity to roads (0 – 1 km, >1 – 5 km, >5 – 10 km, or >10 km). More accessible sites (i.e., closer to roads) receive a higher opportunity rating.
  • Slope – Sites are assigned to one of three slope classes (0 – 30%, >30 –60% or >60%). Areas of lower slope offer more opportunity because they are easier to access than steep locations.
  • Site productivity – Sites are assigned to one of six classes ranging from low to high productivity. Areas with higher site productivity receive higher ratings as they offer a greater opportunity for successful reforestation than less productive areas.
  • Pine Age Class – Sites are assigned to one of three age classes: recently harvested (0-20 years), young and immature (21-60 years), and mature stands (>60 years). Young and immature stands receive higher ratings as a high importance is placed on re-establishing these decimated stands within the timber harvesting land base.
  • Moisture Regime – Sites are assigned to one of five moisture regime classes based on relative precipitation classes in biogeoclimatic zones: very dry, dry, moist, wet and very wet. Wetter areas receive higher ratings as it is assumed that existing impacted trees will deteriorate more rapidly in these conditions.
  • Cycle Time – Sites are assigned to one of four cycle time classes based on their proximity to a point of appraisal (0-3 hours, 3.1-5 hours, 5.1-7 hours, or >7 hours). Sites closer to the point of appraisal receive higher scores as they offer a greater opportunity for higher return on investment than more remote stands.

In addition, areas are assessed as moderate, high or very high at two defined thresholds:

  1. At 50 percent and greater pine and 50 percent and greater MPB attack and
  2. At 70 percent and greater pine and 50 percent and greater MPB attack.

A typical high opportunity site would be a severely attacked old grey site, on a low slope, within 1 km of a road, with high site productivity, young or immature age class, wet regime, within three hours of a point of appraisal. Low and very low carbon offset opportunities are not assessed in this process.

The mapping is available for 22 management units in the northern and southern interior based on level of MPB impact. Because of the number of constraints used to determine if there are potential carbon offset opportunities, a number of management units show very small total areas for the potential application of these opportunities: Arrow, Boundary, Bulkley, Cranbrook, Dawson Creek, Golden, Invermere, Kootenay Lake, MacKenzie, and Okanagan.

The maps are available as PDF format plot files from this website or as raw GIS data for each management unit upon request. Any future updates of this information are dependent upon budget availability as well as user feedback.