March 4 panel discussion: Forest carbon offset credits

A closeup of a conifer seedling

About the event

The purchase of carbon off-set credits generated through sustainable forest management is an emerging way for businesses to offset their emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, that they cannot otherwise reduce. Funds from the sale of carbon credits can help forest managers to invest in practices that can help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on forests. These practices include planting more trees to store carbon and introducing new tree species that may be better adapted to future climate conditions. 

The DNR hosted a panel discussion on forest carbon off-set credit programs to help further understanding of how they function, their impact on forest management and the benefits and limitations of such programs. 

Meet the panelists

Dr. Brandy Brown

Climate and Energy Advisor
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy

Dr. Brandy Brown leads the Office of Climate and Energy within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. She is an experienced energy strategist with deep industry knowledge and demonstrated success in advancing innovative demand-side management programs from conception to implementation. She is focused on building this new office to bridge the state's successful energy work with achieving aggressive climate action goals.

Dr. Brown holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Evaluation from Western Michigan University where she researched the methodological characteristics of energy evaluation and used meta-evaluation to assess quality and validity. Additionally, she earned a Master of Public Administration degree and a bachelor's degree in Communications, Law, Economics and Government from American University in Washington, D.C.

David L. Price 

Forest Planning and Operation Section Manager, Forest Resources Division
Michigan Department of Natural Resources 

David L. Price is the manager of the Forest Planning and Operations Section for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Forest Resources Division. In this capacity he is responsible for planning, timber sales, forest certification, land use, biodiversity conservation, silviculture, and marketing and utilization programs for Michigan's approximately 4 million acre state forest. He also manages the Good Neighbor Authority program for U.S. Forest Service-DNR collaborative forest management projects on Michigan's three national forests. He holds a M.S. degree in Forestry from Michigan State University and a B.S. degree in Computer Science from the U.S. Naval Academy. He retired from the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2011 after 26 years of service.  He currently serves as the treasurer of the Saranac Community Schools Board of Education.

David L. Skole, AB, MSES, PhD.

Professor, Department of Forestry, Michigan State University
Director, Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services, Michigan State University

Dr. David Skole is a researcher focused on the role of forestry and agriculture in global climate change and international development, with an emphasis on measurement, reporting and verification for REDD+. He was formally recognized as a member of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange and served as a member of its Offsets and Forestry Committees. His lab has been supporting the California Compliance Offset Program related to international forestry under the Governor's Climate and Forest Fund. Dr. Skole was an expert member of the USDA Advisory Committee on Technical Guidelines for Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in the Forestry and Agriculture Sectors, that developed the current national measurement protocols and guidelines. Internationally, he advises and supports the national REDD+ programs for the Governments of Indonesia, India, and Malawi. He advised the Forest Investment Program at the World Bank and developed their Results Reporting Toolkit. In other international work, Dr. Skole serves as the Co-Chair of the United Nations program on Global Observation of Forest Cover and led the Carbon Benefits program of the Global Environment Facility. He was a delegate to the 15th United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. He has published more than 100 papers on forests and carbon, including a recent paper in the journal Science that reports on a framework for monitoring of forest degradation in the Brazilian Amazon. He is past-Chair of the National Science Foundation's Advisory Committee on Environmental Research and held membership on several committees of the National Academy of Sciences.

Joshua Strauss, BA, MF, MEM

Vice President - Forest Carbon Projects, Bluesource, LLC

Joshua Strauss is a forest carbon specialist whose primary responsibilities consist of the sourcing, analysis and development of Improved Forest Management, Afforestation and Avoided Forest Conversion carbon offset projects. Joshua focuses on evaluating properties' carbon development potential and coordinating the execution of project activities in accordance with a variety of respected forest offset protocols. Joshua is experienced in forest mensuration and geospatial analysis, has a degree accredited by the Society of American Foresters, and has passed the CA Air Resources Board's Forest Verifier examination. A Doris Duke Conservation Fellow and Tinker Foundation Grant recipient, Joshua holds a BA from the University of California Santa Barbara and master's degrees in Forestry and Environmental Management from Duke University. Joshua currently sits on the board of the Forest Foundation, a California nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about sustainable forestry.

Rich Tuzinsky

Director of Land Protection
The Nature Conservancy

Rich oversees all the land protection projects for The Nature Conservancy's Michigan Business Unit and supervises the protection team. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy in 2005, Rich held various finance and accounting positions. He received a B.A. in accounting from Michigan State University; and he is a certified public accountant.

Scott Whitcomb

Senior Advisor for Wildlife and Public Lands, Executive Division
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Scott Whitcomb works on a variety of DNR priority areas, including renewable energy transition for facilities, public lands and using natural and working lands as climate solutions. He's had the DNR in his blood for a long time, as some of his earliest memories as a child were of the years spent with his family at a remote DNR research cabin on High Island in Lake Michigan. After earning a bachelor's degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University and a Master's degree in Wildlife Management from University of Maine, Scott spent 5 years in the Appalachians of southwest Virginia managing state wildlife areas for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He returned to Michigan in 1998, beginning work in the DNR as a biologist in Lansing working on regulations and special projects before promoting to the statewide Public Lands Specialist for Wildlife Division. He transferred to the DNR's Forest Resources Division and moved north to manage the Pigeon River County State Forest from 2008-2019. In September of 2019, he transitioned to his present role in DNR Executive Division, where he serves as co-chair of the Natural Working Lands and Forest Products Workgroup of the Council on Climate Solutions. He has professional interests in public land administration, conservation biology and integrating outdoor recreation and resource management.