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New Forests fund invests in carbon offset project in California

The Australian timberland investment management firm is investing in the first forest carbon offset project on Native American trust land through its Forest Carbon Partners.

New Forests, the Australian timberland management firm, and the Round Valley Indian Tribes, a federally-recognised tribe, announced the regulatory approval of a forest carbon offset project last month.

The project, the first one being developed on Native American trust land for the California carbon market, consists of 5,550 acres of Douglas fir and mixed hardwood forest on the tribe’s reservation in Northern California, according to a release.

The investment was made through New Forests’ Forest Carbon Partners investment fund, an vehicle for California-compliant forest carbon offset projects, which provides offset project finance and manages project development and offset credit sales for the project.

The investment fund closed its first two transactions in early 2012 where it partnered with a family forest owner and a Native American tribe to develop forest carbon offset projects on over 11,000 acres of forest land in the western US, Agri Investor learned.

“We are proud to be a leading tribe in the innovative carbon market that reinforces our goal of sustainable forestry to maintain levels of wildlife, native plants, fish, clean water, and reduced fire threats,” said Joe Dukepoo, councilman of Round Valley Tribal, in a statement. “This project also is in line with the tribe’s mission to ensure that our future generations enjoy the benefits of a healthy forest.”

The second largest reservation in the California state, the Round Valley Indian Tribes owns over 30,000 acres of forested land.

New Forest has offices in Sydney, Singapore and San Francisco, and more than $2 billion in funds and assets under management.

Forest Carbon Partners announced its first forest carbon offset project developed under the California Compliance Offset Protocol in partnership with the Yurok Tribe last February. In September, the fund made a similar investment in the Hanes Ranch Forest Carbon Project in San Francisco, California.

According to New Forests, the most recent investment is one of 10 forest carbon offset projects registered or currently under development by the fund for the California carbon market.

“With the success of this project, New Forests has registered more projects than any other company under the California compliance forest carbon offset protocol, and we are the only company to successfully register such projects to date for Native American clients on fee or trust land,” said Brian Shillinglaw, associate director of New Forests, in a statement.

The fund is also invested in Trinity Timberlands in California, Alder Stream Preserve in Maine and Howland Research Forest in Maine with 30,321 of acreage under management, about 30 percent of the target investment.