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Carbon Sequestration and Michigan Forests

Carbon Sequestration and Michigan Forests

Program: Dow Sustainability Fellows Program
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Photo by Daniel Brown

Spotlight on Carbon Sequestration

Team Photo

Selling Sequestered Carbon Could Be a Win-Win for Michigan | Michigan (2019)

Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources manages the largest state-owned forest system in the U.S., with roughly four million acres of forest land between the upper and lower peninsulas. This Dow Fellows team explored the possibility of selling the carbon sequestered by these forests and reinvesting the profits in the future of Michigan’s environmental health. Selling carbon offsets generated from its forests could be a win-win for the state, encouraging better forest management while providing the revenue to fund related projects that reduce both Michigan’s emissions and its dependence on fossil fuels.

“Selling sequestered carbon from Michigan forests can help Michigan meet its environmental goals... You’re lowering emissions and dependence on fossil fuel across the state.”

Carbon sequestration is the process by which carbon dioxide is removed or stored to reduce the effects of climate change. Forests are considered an important factor in storing carbon, and the carbon sink potential, the degree to which carbon dioxide is absorbed through natural processes, of Michigan forests can be quite large. A Dow Fellows team worked with the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to explore the possibility of selling sequestered carbon in the form of carbon credits from improved forest management strategies in the Michigan State Forest system. The team completed multiple interviews to gain a baseline knowledge of how carbon offset markets work. They developed a set of recommendations for the state of Michigan to pursue carbon offsets. This work can serve as a template for other states to implement carbon offsets.


Amanda Willis | MBA/MS ’20
Clare Cutler | MS ’20
Kanchan Swaroop | MSE/MS ’20
Marc Jaruzel | MPP ’20

Prof. Michael Moore | School for Environment and Sustainability
Michael Kay | U-M alumnus, former Dow Fellows Program Liaison

The Nature Conservancy, Michigan Chapter