Local Trees Build Carbon Credits

By Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance, with files from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times - July 8, 2008

Thousands of trees will be planted - for free on Langley Township land. The first of 40,000 trees are heading for Aldergrove, for a carbon offset project run through Langley Township.

The Township's contract with a private company, Ecosystem Restoration Associates (ERA), has been approved and starts this month.

Over the next several years, ERA is expected to plant trees on Township-owned land, and make money by selling carbon credits to outside buyers.

Governments around the world have already cap-and-trade or carbon-offset programs, forcing those who add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere to offset the amounts, while environmentally sensitive companies, universities, and individuals are also buying carbon credits.

Because a mature forest holds a large amount of carbon, tree-planting is one way to make up for CO2 emissions.

Mayor Kurt Alberts said he believes the first site of ERA planting will be along several streams in Aldergrove, with other neighbourhoods to follow. Alberts said trees will be planted at Bertrand Creek and several of its tributataries, including areas in Creekside Park.

Trees are also slated for Noel Booth and McLeod Athletic Parks, and Walnut Grove creeks.

Whether the Township will buy any of the credits hasn't been decided, said Alberts. "At this point, we haven't really discussed that," he said.

There are questions about how future cap-and-trade legislation might affect municipalities, he said. The provincial government's Climate Action Plan calls for municipalities to set carbon reduction targets by 2010...