Summer update

It’s been a warm August here in the Kootenays, but we have managed to continue with some field work on our College Carbon Offset project. A crew of four students was out installing permanent plots and sampling biomass in the Castlegar Campus’ Death Valley area.  This complements the applied research work that two of our forestry technology grads started over the winter. Have a look at our student activities page to see some of the these efforts.

Some current information pieces from the B.C. Ministry of Environment’s Climate Action Secretariat page are worth checking out, including an update on B.C.’s climate action plan an info on the public sector’s carbon neutrality status. There is also still an opportunity to comment on the Government’s carbon tax policy. Check this out on the B.C. Ministry of Finance page. A follow up to this is an interesting recent news piece on the B.C. carbon tax in the Financial Post.


One of our first steps was to get a better background understanding of the science and policy on forest carbon management in British Columbia. Greig and Bull (2008, 2011) provide a great pair of general articles outlining much of this information. Two other must-have documents, produced by the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, are the British Columbia Forest Offset Guide and the BC Forest Carbon Offset Protocol.

The Guide is a general road map to developing a forest offset project, whereas, the Protocol is more of an expanded checklist that makes sure proponents are following the intent of the BC Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act (GGRT) act. Both were produced by the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Bill 44 – 2007 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act

Both the Guide and the Protocol would not exist if not for provincial legislation that was passed in 2007.  Bill 44 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act ( lays out greenhouse gas reduction targets for the province (33% reduction below 2007 levels in 2020, and 80% reduction below 2007 levels in 2050).  As well, the Act stipulates that all provincial public sector organizations are required to achieve carbon neutral status by either pursuing actions to reduce emissions or purchase emission offsets to net emissions to zero.  Besides having an academic and applied research interest in forest carbon management, the College also has a financial interest in this project as it falls under the definition of a provincial public sector organization, and as, such must now comply with achieving zero net emissions.

ISO Standards

Both the Guide and the Protocol reference the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Greenhouse Gas (1406x series) standards.  Unfortunately, ISO charges for all standards so these must be purchased ( It may be possible for the College Library to purchase these and provide them for loan – something we’ll look into.

ISO 14064-1:2006 Greenhouse gases — Part 1: Specification with guidance at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals

ISO 14064-2:2006 Greenhouse gases — Part 2: Specification with guidance at the project level for quantification, monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas level for quantification, monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas

ISO 14064-3:2006 Greenhouse gases — Part 3: Specification with guidance for the validation and verification of greenhouse gas assertions

ISO 14065:2007 Greenhouse gases — Requirements for greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies for use in accreditation or other forms of recognition

ISO 14066:2011 Greenhouse gases – Competence requirements for greenhouse gas validation teams and verification teams


Another important information source for us has been the local group of forest science professionals, contractors, and other informed people who agreed to sit on our Selkirk Decision Support Committee (SDSC). These folks have been a great source of direction for the project thus far.

Initiating a Forest Carbon Management Plan

The purpose of this blog is to create an open and accessible log of the steps that Selkirk College is pursuing to obtain carbon offsets on the College lands.  The college has over 900ha of land in two woodlots, an educational forest and the Castlegar campus grounds. This blog will document the resources, data and models used, and attempt to highlight obstacles and solutions encountered in offset project process.  The goal is to create an ‘open classroom’ where the public, students, local consultants and forest managers can learn about carbon offset opportunities and pitfalls, find data and tools, and ultimately reduce the risk and cost of pursuing carbon offset opportunities in the Kootenays and beyond. We also hope that this will become a place for interaction and discussion about these interests.