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Forest carbon program

Forest Carbon Program

Forest Carbon Program

Invest locally, benefit globally
King County Land Conservation Initiative

Local forest carbon supports land conservation, new parks and greenspaces

Carbon credits are being produced by permanently protecting threatened forests and tree canopy within King County. Lands targeted for carbon credit financing are among the most critical conservation priorities of the region – identified through the collaborative Land Conservation Initiative. This Initiative brings together the voices of concerned citizens, community groups, environmental and social justice non-profits, business leaders, scientists, philanthropists, city governments, and King County.

The Forest Carbon Program is a component of the King County Land Conservation Initiative

King County's Forest Carbon Program is a component of the region's Land Conservation Initiative, which aims to protect existing tree canopy and natural areas, and provide more public parks, biking and walking trails, and open spaces.

King County's Forest Carbon Program is a component of the region's Land Conservation Initiative.

So many things we can't do anything about, our tree canopy we can.

So many things we can’t do anything about, OUR TREE CANOPY WE CAN.

Carbon + Co-Benefits For Our Communities & Our Environment


  • A cleaner urban environment: Forest carbon projects in and around our cities will improve urban air quality, reduce stormwater runoff, and enhance water quality in our rivers, lakes, and Puget Sound.
  • Protecting tree canopy and green spaces: The Puget Sound region is growing rapidly, making land conservation and forest protection an unusually urgent effort. Without a dramatic acceleration of conservation work alongside development, we will lose forever much of what makes this region beautiful, ecologically healthy, and livable.
  • Sustaining salmon and wildlife: Forest carbon projects in King County protect critical salmon habitat and preserve corridors for our remaining elk, bears, and other wildlife in an increasingly fragmented, paved-over landscape.
  • Healthy communities: Carbon financing of land acquisition for new public park sites will help the Land Conservation Initiative provide our communities with the diverse physical and mental health benefits of greenspace. The Initiative aims to improve our communities’ access to spaces to gather, relieve stress, and relax – and spaces where our children can play and learn outdoors.

Public greenspaces and trails are increasingly important for quality of life in our rapidly growing region.

A public space to relax, explore, exercise, and play — protected by King County’s purchase of the land.

King County Urban and Rural Forest Carbon Credits

All carbon credits King County offers will be independently (3rd-party) verified to voluntary standards. The urban forest carbon credits, which are inherently low volume but high value, are a powerful new tool for investing in communities and climate benefits simultaneously. King County is working with City Forest Credits (CFC), a Seattle-based non-profit that has developed an innovative protocol for preservation of forest canopy within and around U.S. cities – where carbon finance had not previously been feasible. The rural forest carbon credits will be produced from the protection of larger forested areas in King County through a project under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), a well-established voluntary protocol that is used for most rural forest carbon projects globally.

Urban Credits

The initial project was successfully verified in 2018 by CFC, producing 3,025 mtCO2e of verified and registered credits, while also producing local community and environmental co-benefits. All project documents are available through CFC. Most of these credits have been purchased by three local companies.

Rural Credits

The King County Rural Forest Carbon Project was validated in September 2020 by VCS, producing 26,317 mtCO2e of verified and registered credits. The sale of the first batch of credits was completed in November 2020. King County completed the second verification in June 2022. All project documents are available through Verra.

Keeping carbon in forests is critical to confronting climate change

Offering local companies the option to offset their carbon emissions right here also protects our forests -- and makes it possible for all of us to enjoy the forests in our communities.

Illustration of urban forest with buildings, people and wildlife.

For more information about the Forest Carbon Program, please contact:
Kathleen Farley Wolf
Forest Carbon Program Manager
(206) 477-4363

For information about forest carbon credit sales, please contact:
Anne-Gigi Chan
Land Conservation Project Manager
(206) 263-2974


The Forest Carbon Program is a component of the King County Land Conservation Initiative.