Environmental Management

, Volume 54, Issue 6, pp 1399–1411 | Cite as

Family Forest Landowners’ Interest in Forest Carbon Offset Programs: Focus Group Findings from the Lake States, USA

  • Kristell A. MillerEmail author
  • Stephanie A. Snyder
  • Mike A. Kilgore
  • Mae A. Davenport


In 2012, focus groups were organized with individuals owning 20+ acres in the Lake States region of the United States (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) to discuss various issues related to forest carbon offsetting. Focus group participants consisted of landowners who had responded to an earlier mail-back survey (2010) on forest carbon offsets. Two focus groups were held per state with an average of eight participants each (49 total). While landowner participant types varied, overall convergence was reached on several key issues. In general, discussion results found that the current payment amounts offered for carbon credits are not likely, on their own, to encourage participation in carbon markets. Landowners are most interested in other benefits they can attain through carbon management (e.g., improved stand species mix, wildlife, and trails). Interestingly, landowner perceptions about the condition of their own forest land were most indicative of prospective interest in carbon management. Landowners who felt that their forest was currently in poor condition, or did not meet their forest ownership objectives, were most interested in participating. While the initial survey sought landowner opinions about carbon markets, a majority of focus group participants expressed interest in general carbon management as a means to achieve reduced property taxes.


Forest carbon offsets  Family forest owners Carbon management Voluntary carbon markets  Focus groups Lake states 



We would like to thank the USDA-Forest Service for providing financial support that assisted us in carrying out this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristell A. Miller
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephanie A. Snyder
    • 2
  • Mike A. Kilgore
    • 1
  • Mae A. Davenport
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forest ResourcesUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.USDA Forest Service, Northern Research StationSt. PaulUSA

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