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DNR state forest carbon projects

An elk standing in a field with fall trees in the background

DNR state forest carbon projects

Generating carbon credits from state forest lands

Michigan’s forests provide natural benefits including clean air and water, wildlife habitat, scenic places for recreation, renewable forest products and carbon storage. Carbon storage is achieved when trees absorb carbon dioxide gas from the air. A single mature tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon annually.

Industries that produce carbon emissions may purchase carbon offset credits, investing in forests as carbon sinks, or storage areas. Carbon offset credit projects support natural climate solutions on working forest lands. Revenues will be invested into DNR sustainability, climate change adaptation or mitigation efforts.

Forest program information

Big Wild Forest Carbon Project

The Big Wild Forest Carbon Project started in 2020. It is the first in the nation to leverage the carbon storage capacity of trees on state forest lands. This pilot project, taking place on over 100,000 acres of the celebrated Pigeon River Country State Forest known as "The Big Wild," creates a portfolio of carbon offset credits generated from sustainable forest management activities. Project development was completed in 2022 with DTE Energy purchasing the first decade of carbon offset credits. The total project term is 40 years. 

Wolverine-Copper Country Forest Carbon Project

The success of the pilot project led the DNR to begin developing a second forest carbon project in 2022, known as the Wolverine-Copper Country Forest Carbon Project. This project is located on over 120,000 acres in the northern lower and western upper peninsulas, including the iconic Jordan River valley and the remote and rugged tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Contractor Anew Climate is currently seeking a buyer for carbon offset credits from the Wolverine-Copper Country carbon project.


Forest in Michigan's upper peninsula

Project locations

A bull elk stands in a golden autumn forest

Pigeon River Country State Forest

The 109,000-acre Pigeon River Country State Forest is the heart of Michigan’s elk range, and through it flows several premium cold-water trout streams, including the Sturgeon and Pigeon rivers. This area is appreciated for its wilderness-like feel. This working forest is managed with sustainable harvest practices and enhanced carbon sequestration so it can continue to be used and enjoyed by present and future generations.

A sunlit area by the water in the Jordan River Valley

Jordan River Valley

The Jordan River Valley is a premier forest recreation destination valued for its scenic vistas including Deadman’s Hill overlook. The Jordan River running through the valley is Michigan’s first designated natural river and is a cold-water trout stream. The area’s thousands of acres of forests provide diverse habitat for many types of birds such as owls and the state-threatened red shouldered hawk.

A sunlit bike trail in a rolling forested area

Keweenaw Management Area

The tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula is a nationally renowned mountain biking and hiking destination. It is also a significant location for birders and wildlife watchers who enjoy the sights of this migratory flyway and glimpses of protected wildlife species. The Keweenaw, a biodiversity hotspot, is surrounded by the shoreline of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world, and through it runs the Montreal River. 


Contact and carbon credit purchases

Interested in purchasing carbon credits to offset those produced by your business? Contact Ben Massie for more information. Contact Josh Strauss for general inquiries regarding carbon projects and Anew Climate.

Contact Scott Whitcomb or David Price for DNR information about forest carbon projects.

Frequently Asked Questions