ALTERNATIVE LOGGING: Forests like the ones near Paul Nys' house have long been places where a landowner could get wealthy. Trees were grown to a healthy middle age and then chopped down for lumber. Landowners are now receiving offers to leave the trees intact. It's part of a program to preserve the forest so that the trees can help absorb more greenhouse gases.
CARBON SINK: In the new program trees act as "carbon sinks," each one a big straw that sucks carbon dioxide out of the air and into its root system. In a voluntary carbon market, companies can seek to offset their carbon emissions by buying up the carbon-absorbing capacity of farms like Nys' property.
NEW COMMODITY: As part of an Oregon state initiative, carbon would be bundled and sold to companies, and Nys would pocket dollars based on the 20-year carbon-absorbing capacity of his trees. That could start at more than $5,000 as an up-front payment for the first five years of the deal, and continue to generate about $1,000 for Nys for the rest of the life of the contract.
- Consumer Discretionary