The Francis Beidler Forestry Project is a unique and rare property located in the South Carolina lowlands. It is the world’s largest virgin cypress-tupelo swamp forest, a pristine ecosystem of thousand-year-old trees. Because the property features stands of highly valuable timber, logging has been an attractive management option for the property in the past. Preservation of forests such as the Frances Beidler forest are critical but can be challenging due to the value of timber on properties like these.
In recent years, the Audubon Society placed a permanent conservation easement on 5,548 acres of the property, prohibiting future development and commercial harvesting. The easement initiated a forest carbon project to generate funds for the long-term maintenance of the area and protection of additional buffering lands. The Francis Beidler Improved Forest Management Project (Beidler) was with California’s Climate Action Reserve. Beidler became one of the first forest projects to be accepted under the California Air Resources Board compliance program and issued compliance offset credits.
The Francis Beidler project aids emission reductions through enhanced sequestration relative to baseline forest management. This project creates a unique forest environment amid cropland and aggressive timber harvesting that allows for essential habitat for key plant and animal species. It is an example of how carbon revenues can be used to offset potential timber value in old-growth forests, preserve these for future generations, and help fight the impacts of climate change.