Partnership Aims To Balance Carbon Emissions With Offsets

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Tonyah Stone has an unusual job title. She is a Carbon Marketing Specialist — and works for Rural Action of Trimble.

In other words, Stone is a salesperson, and what she's selling is not carbon but carbon dioxide, or the air emissions that cause climate change. 
It was in 2009 that Rural Action joined the Appalachian Carbon Partnership to participate in the voluntary managed forest carbon offset program. "The Appalachian Carbon Partnership is a collaboration between three organizations. One of those organizations is Rural Action, which is who I represent, which is based in Trimble, Ohio. ASD out of Virginia: the Appalachian Sustainable Development and MACED out of Berea, Kentucky and they are really the parent organization," Stone said.
The program is providing property owners in Appalachian Ohio an opportunity to earn additional income from their woodlands by sequestering carbon dioxide from the environment into their forests.
"The Appalachian Carbon Partnership has two different sides to it.  There's the landowner side and the organization side. And really the landowner side is my counterpart.  Susi Rankis reaches out to area landowners who have a minimum of 30 acres of forested land and who are willing to sign a 15 year contract to go through a forest inventory and actually have a forest management plan. So that's her end of the program," said Stone.
Stone is responsible for the marketing and sale of carbon offsets to small businesses, foundations, and individuals in Ohio. "What I do is I reach out to organizations, businesses and individuals who are concerned about the environment and want to go through the steps to calculate their carbon emissions. Once they identify what their carbon emission is, what their footprint is, then they can make the decision to purchase carbon offsets.  That basically balances out their carbon emissions and 90 percent of that money goes to landowners who have been enrolled in the program," she explains.
Fully implemented, the Appalachian Carbon Partnership program will conserve privately-owned forests in Southeast Ohio, provide landowners with some extra cash, and slow climate change. It's a job that Tonyah Stone said she could find quite satisfying.