The Comox Valley Regional District recently committed to reducing local greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. As part of that committment they initiated the “Road to 2030 Comox Valley Climate Action Challenge” and invited individuals, community groups, non-profits and small local businesses to propose community initiatives that would pave a green future for our region for the next 10 years. Three submissions were selected and awarded grants to help bring their ideas to life, right here in the Comox Valley.
We are incredibly proud to announce that our Lower Perseverance Corridor project was one of the three award recipients for the Road to 2030 Challenge! The Lower Perseverance Corridor project will protect 12 ha of riparian and upland forest from harvesting and ensures the protection of this critical carbon sink which sequesters carbon and contributes to avoided emissions by the prevention of harvesting.
This 12 hectare area is a mature second growth forest ranging in age from 90 to 110 years. It supports a variety of tree species including Douglas-fir, western hemlock, western redcedar, red alder, cottonwood and western yew. Carbon modelling demonstrates that this 12 hectare forest is currently a carbon sink, and is expected to sequester approximately 25 tons of carbon (92 tons of CO2 equivalent) per year between now and 2030.
Harvesting followed by slash burning would convert the forest from a carbon sink to a carbon source, due to combustion and decomposition of the wood waste. If reforested, the area would remain a carbon source for approximately 15 years following harvest, at which point the trees would be large enough to sequester more carbon than the ecosystem is releasing through decomposition. On average, about 1200 tons of CO2 equivalent would be released from the forest every year between now and 2030 if the entire area were harvested. That’s equal to 300 midsize cars each driving 20,000km!
Projects were evaluated based on the following criteria.
- GHG Impact – Projects must present solutions that reduce GHG emissions in the CVRD before 2030. The approaches and methodologies used to calculate GHG emission reductions must be demonstrated.
- Community Impact/Co-benefits – Projects must demonstrate benefits to the Comox Valley community as a whole. Projects should have co-benefits such as air quality, health, social benefits and resilience.
- Feasibility – Projects needed to provide a strong business case that could be supported by the community The budget and project plan mst align with a realistic understanding of the costs and tasks of implementation.
- Durability – Projects were required to create irreversible and lasting reduction in GHG emissions in the CVRD.
- Scalability – Projects needed to show that they could be replicated and/or well-positioned to become models for other contexts and to demonstrate the potential for larger scale implementation.
*Thank you to Sarah Falloon, Bob Falloon, Jerry Baldwin, Marco Rowan and Billy Raymond for their incredible support with this carbon analysis project.