Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contributes to harmful greenhouse gases. Carbon sequestration is the process of taking carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it somewhere else. As trees grow, they take carbon out of the atmosphere and lock it into their trunks, limbs and branches. Likewise, carbon is stored in processed timber, such as boards, planks, and other wood products.

Forests have the capacity to both store and emit carbon. Through the process of photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store carbon in the stem, roots, branches, and leaves. Wood products that are harvested from forests also provide long-term storage of carbon.

Georgia Carbon Sequestration Registry & Carbon Offsets

Businesses that emit carbon can “offset” the amount of carbon they produce by buying carbon credits from forest landowners. The Georgia Carbon Sequestration Registry is a platform that facilitates these exchanges. The Registry is a non-profit program established by Georgia Senate Bill 356 in 2004. The Registry provides a mechanism for the development, documentation, and reporting of carbon sequestration projects in Georgia. On the site, users can register a project or find informational materials, links and other helpful resources. The Registry is administered by GFC and the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority (GSCCCA).

How does the Registry Work?

The Registry has developed a protocol for estimating and reporting carbon stocks in forests. The protocol was drafted with help from the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, along with input from public and private stakeholders. Similar protocols will be developed for conservation tillage and urban forestry in the future.

Visit the Georgia Carbon Registry
Participation in the Registry is completely voluntary and there is an administrative fee associated with project registration. The Registry is not a market platform. It is designed for reporting carbon sequestration activities, but does not purchase “carbon credits” or administer financial transactions. Simply put, the Registry provides a record of carbon storage in registered forest land that may be used for many different purposes and does not assign dollar value to carbon.

Helpful Resources

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
2019 GA Carbon Sequestration Summary

Over 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon is sequestered on Georgia timberland according to 2019 Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) data, provided by the U.S. Forest Service. This includes 23.2 million acres on federal, state/local, and private property. It accounts for carbon in aboveground and belowground live and dead biomass, aboveground and belowground understory vegetation, coarse woody debris, soil, and leaf litter. This estimate excludes timberland primarily consisting of exotic species and non-stocked stands (previously forested land that has yet to be replanted or produce substantial natural vegetation).

American Carbon Registry

The American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, was founded in 1996 as the first private voluntary greenhouse gas registry in the world.

External Website
Climate Action Reserve

A helpful source of information for Forest Offset Project Standards and Protocols.

External Website
Generating Value through Forest Carbon – An Introduction

Individuals seeking facts about the forestry carbon marketplace can easily be overwhelmed by the amount of information available. Confusing and contradictory details can make it very hard to assess income potential or assign appropriate risk. This guide seeks to provide answers to the most frequently asked questions about forestry carbon and help direct further investigation.

Georgia Carbon Registry Factsheet

The Georgia Carbon Registry provides forest landowners, municipalities, and public and private entities with an official mechanism for the development, documentation, and reporting of carbon emissions offset projects undertaken in Georgia.

Guiding Principles for a Practical and Sustainable Approach to Forest Carbon Sequestration Projects in the Southern U.S.

Key issues surrounding the development and application of forest-based offset projects in the southern region of the United States are examined in this paper.

External Website
Guiding Principles for Forest Carbon Sequestration – Executive Summary

This paper examines the key issues surrounding the development and application of forest-based offset projects in the southern region of the United States and provides the Southern Group of State Foresters’ (SGSF) recommendations for how these issues should be addressed in federal climate policy, should legislation be enacted.

VERRA – Verified Carbon Standard

Verra develops and manages standards that help countries, the private sector and civil society achieve their sustainable development and climate action goals.

External Website

Click Here for Archived Resources

Carbon Sequestration FAQs

Why is carbon sequestration so important?

Scientists say the world’s atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are increasing by about three billion metric tons every year. As air pollution increases, so do the number of health problems for Georgians. Planting trees and managing their development is a proven way to reduce the number of harmful particulates in the air. Carbon Sequestration is also an emerging market opportunity for southern forest owners as they seek reasonable returns for the ecological services they provide.

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How does a forest provide clean air?

Actively growing forests remove carbon dioxide (CO2), a by-product of burning fossil fuels, from the atmosphere. Trees store the carbon in wood fiber, and release oxygen. When trees capture and store carbon in forest vegetation, soil and forest products, it is called “Carbon Sequestration.”

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What are ecological services?

Ecological services are the natural benefits of a well managed forest: water filtration, erosion control, wildlife habitats, and clean air.

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How much carbon can southern forests process?

Actively managed southern pine plantations sequester from one to four tons of carbon, per acre, per year. Annually, Georgia's forests offset approximately 8% of our state's carbon dioxide emissions.

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How could a landowner realize value for carbon sequestration?

The sale of “carbon credits” could provide a new opportunity for income on a regular, ongoing basis. Systems that match emission-dependent companies with tree growers have been developed in Georgia, California, Maine, Oregon, and in other parts of the world. Companies such as utilities cost-share tree planting or reforestation in exchange for “carbon credits,” and transactions are recorded in a Carbon Registry. A national protocol for establishing such a registry does not yet exist.

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What’s happening in Georgia to encourage carbon sequestration?

GFC and the University of Georgia have defined a Carbon Registry protocol for Georgia and developed an online carbon sequestration registry to list and track forestry projects that are managed to sequester carbon.

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Why is a carbon sequestration registry important?

By developing a carbon sequestration registry, Georgia landowners will have the opportunity to certify that their forests meet specific standards required by those companies wishing to purchase carbon credits. The Registry will also list potential carbon credit markets and encourage those persons representing the market to contact Georiga forest owners regarding potential carbon credit transactions. Furthermore, forest growth will be encouraged and significant steps taken to protect Georgia's environment.

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