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Title: Profiting from the sale of carbon offsets: a case study of the Trigg Ranch

Author: Gosnell, Hannah; Robinson-Maness, Nicole; Charnley, Susan.;

Date: 2011

Source: Rangelands. 33(5): 25-29

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: One result of growing concerns about climate change has been the development of a variety of market-based mechanisms aimed at incentivizing agricultural landowners to manage their lands in ways that mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration. Most of this attention has been aimed at engaging forest and farm owners in the voluntary carbon market, but in recent years there has been a growing interest in the potential for rangeland managers to contribute to this effort. In 2008, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) initiated a program that would allow ranchers to participate in the US voluntary carbon market by generating and selling carbon credits. The Trigg Ranch was one of approximately 1,000 ranch operations to participate in the CCX program, enrolling 50,000 acres under the CCX Sustainably Managed Rangeland Soil Carbon Sequestration Offset Project Protocol in 2009. The Trigg family earned $90,000 by selling the carbon credits they generated to a Texas corporation. Their experience exemplifies the range of challenges faced by landowners attempting to transition to carbon-oriented grazing management; it is also notable in that the Trigg Ranch is one of the few to generate income from carbon credits and to include state lands in its enrollment. Although the CCX program is no longer in existence, we suggest that insights from the Trigg Ranch experience will be of interest to Rangelands readers considering transitioning their grazing systems to sequester more carbon, and/or participating in future carbon markets should they develop.

Keywords: Climate change, ranchers, rangeland management, carbon sequestration, carbon markets, United States

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Gosnell, Hannah; Robinson-Maness, Nicole; Charnley, Susan. 2011. Profiting from the sale of carbon offsets: a case study of the Trigg Ranch. Rangelands. 33(5): 25-29.


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