The Selkirk College Carbon Portal is a community place where members of the public, researchers, land managers, consultants, and students can share information about forest carbon management. In this site we hope to interactively provide information on carbon economics, decision support tools, and an open case study of developing a forest carbon offset on our College land base.
The idea of starting our own forest carbon portal, and offset project using the College lands came from our team members responding to the interest of the local and provincial forest professionals. Very few people had any exposure to forest carbon management field, and most were interested in gaining more information and applied experience. We carried out an online user needs survey directed at professional foresters, biologists, government staff, and other researchers. Our questions targeted what their knowledge and experience was with forest carbon offset projects, carbon modeling tools, and what other tools or information they used, or were interested in.
The main message from our survey was the real lack of basic information about carbon science, management, and policy. Knowledge ranged considerably; some people wanted know what a carbon credit was and who owned them. Many others were interested in existing Crown carbon tenure and possible changes to that might favour licensees. There seemed a need for information on how to get started with a carbon project (plan components, screening) and what carbon models can be used and how do you use them (what data, where to get it). Economic and ecological cost benefit analyses were also of interest, as were available carbon finance options. These issues were reiterated at the carbon management conference the SGRC cohosted with the Columbia Mountain Institute.
We believed that our survey results and conversations with professionals in the area and elsewhere indicated a real need for this carbon information portal aimed at Kootenay-Columbia forest professionals and the general public.