Increasing Adoption of Grasslands Avoided Conversion Carbon Projects

Climate and Forest Capital (CFC) has partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund on an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant to research economic incentives that could increase the adoption of conservation practices on US working lands. One of the primary strategies being investigated utilizes a Climate Action Reserve protocol that measures greenhouse gas reductions resulting from the “avoided conversion” of grassland into cropland in areas. This Grassland Project Protocol requires placing a conservation easement on the property in partnership with a land trust. In turn, the landowner conserving their land is able to see additional revenue through the generation of carbon credits. UHPSI, in collaboration with CFC, seeks to determine the viability of avoided conversion as a tool for achieving conservation outcomes. Together, we evaluate the potential supply of projects and carbon credits through outreach and education, and model financial returns associated with the strategy.


Climate and Forest Capital | Website

Project Deliverable

    – Acres assessed for carbon credits: over 160,000
    – Projects appraised: 13
    – Conversations held with stakeholders and conservation organizations: 22
    – Outputs provided to partner:

      Excel assessment tool
      GIS assessment tool
      Financial model
      GIS mapping analysis

Student Researchers


Shea Flanagan, Research Assistant | Shea is a Master of Environmental Management candidate at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, specializing in Systems Leadership in Conservation and Business & the Environment. At Ucross, Shea works as a research assistant on a carbon offsets project related to the avoided conversion of grasslands. She also works as a writer for the Conservation Finance Network at the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale, and volunteers as a Nonprofit Board Fellow for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. Shea spent most of her time prior to Yale working for The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire and in the Adirondacks, serving on the chapters’ conservation and stewardship teams. See what Shea has been up to.  |  Blog



Jeffrey Conti, Research Assistant | Jeff has a passion for protecting ecologically and economically vital natural and working lands. At FES, Jeff is focusing on land conservation and management as well as conservation finance. He is currently a research assistant with the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative, where he works to source potential projects and partnerships for a carbon offset fund. Jeff also writes for the Conservation Finance Network, and serves as a Teaching Fellow for Brad Gentry’s Strategies for Land Conservation course. See what Jeff has been up to.  |  Blog