Global Carbon Markets Now Open to Wetland Restoration and Conservation

An initiative led by Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE), aimed at creating greenhouse gas offset opportunities for wetlands received final approval under the Verified Carbon Standards (VCS) on October 4, 2012. This ground-breaking approval paves the way for increased private investment in wetland restoration and conservation projects through the issuance of internationally recognized carbon credits. The VCS Wetlands Technical Working Group is composed of climate change experts, including ESA PWA's Climate Change Program Manager, Stephen Crooks, Ph.D.

The new VCS Wetlands Restoration and Conservation project category rules all wetlands from mountain peats to tidal marshes and seagrasses are now eligible for carbon credits. Projects that aim to conserve wetlands with organic soil, restoration of saline tidal wetlands and mangroves, subsidence reversal projects and floodplain reactivation are ideal candidates to benefit from this access to international carbon credits.

“We hope that by adopting wetlands under the VCS Standard, wetland conservation and restoration activities will be stimulated,” said Stephen Crooks, PhD. “There is a billion-dollar backlog in coastal and estuarine projects nationwide that would provide immediate, long-term, economic and environmental benefits to the U.S. There has been interest in potential new projects from all over the world, including Southeast Asia, the Middle East, South America, Africa, and the United States.”

VCS is the leader in the voluntary carbon market with a 58 percent global and U.S. share. It is considered by many market and policy professionals as the most sought-after certification in the world today. For more information about VCS visit

New research indicates that tidal wetlands are efficient carbon sinks for greenhouse gases. This makes coastal restoration, adaptation, and mitigation essential elements in government planning and policy, and has profound ramifications and opportunities for commercial investments in domestic and international carbon markets.

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