Flyway Forests Reforestation Program

Climate change impacts the health of wildlife, hydrology, and agricultural systems and is causing billions of dollars of economic damage every year across the world. There is scientific consensus that mitigation is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of rising greenhouse gas temperatures in the atmosphere. Natural Climate Solutions are opportunities to use nature to remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, while also providing habitat and ecosystem services such as clean water and clean air. Ducks Unlimited (DU) has long understood that our sustainable ecosystem work has benefits beyond waterfowl.



What Can We Do

DU’s new Flyway Forests program is designed to restore bottomland hardwood forests on private lands in the lower Mississippi River valley, tributaries, and adjacent counties by planting trees to help capture significant amounts of carbon. DU is partnering with Pachama, a carbon project developer, to implement this program on private lands with private equity funding.  


Partnership Goals

Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate impacts by capturing carbon dioxide and storing carbon with soils and forest biomass.  Approximately 50% of the carbon stored in a forest is in the soil, and the rest is stored in the trunk, branches, and roots of the trees.

How It Works

  • DU works with private landowners to design reforestation projects
  • By enrolling in the voluntary program, landowners will be paid to restore land to its historic forested condition
  • DU will compensate the landowner at a rate of $2,200/acre over 5 years ($440/acre/year for 5 years)
  • DU will hold a perpetual conservation easement on the restored acres and conduct annual easement compliance monitoring
  • The landowner will retain ownership of the land while DU covers all site prep, tree planting and survival monitoring of seedlings
  • DU will monitor and conduct adaptive management for the first seven years
  • Pachama (program partner) will register the project in the Voluntary Carbon Market and verified carbon credits will be released after the first 5 years of the program
  • Verified carbon offsets will be released after the first 6 years of the program, and then every 5 years for the 40-year program
  • DU and partners will conduct field verification of tree growth and forest health every 5 years for the duration of the program (40 years)
  • The carbon crediting lifecycle is 40 years, but the conservation easement will protect the forest permanently
TreePlantingPhoto Credit Ben Hemmings.jpeg TreePlanting, photo by Ben Hemmings


Program Enrollment FAQs



Who is eligible? 

  • Landowners in lower Mississippi Valley, tributaries, and adjacent counties
  • Landowners who wish to leave a legacy of forested habitat by protect the land in perpetuity through a conservation easement
  • Ideal lands should have at least 75+ acres available in areas such as:
    • Lands where bottomland hardwood forests historically occurred
    • Fields in current or recent agricultural production
    • Pastures managed for haying and recreation
    • Croplands with challenging soil
    • Flood-prone land IF tree mortality is low

Non-eligible lands include: 

  • Emergent wetlands are NOT ideal
  • Land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetland Reserve Easements, or other government funded programs that paid for tree planting

Prothonotary_Warbler_Dominic Sherony.jpeg
Prothonotary Warbler, photo by Dominic Sherony

What are the benefits of this program? 

Carbon benefits

  • Reforestation has the greatest climate mitigation potential in the U.S. relative to other natural climate solutions. Flyway forests will sequester more carbon than traditional silvicultural practices.
  • Tree planting is an effective way to sequester and store carbon dioxide. Seedlings of bottomland hardwood trees in the Lower MAV do this at a rate of 6 tons/acre/year by the time the trees are 30 years old.
  • 1 acre of restored Flyway Forest is equivalent to taking one car off the road for a year (EPA)

bottomland_hardwoods2.png  Aerial Wetland View


What are the waterfowl and wildlife benefits


Carbon Offset Guide - click the link to learn more about the incremental steps to take to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)


For more information about the Flyway Forest program, contact:

Lauren Alleman--Carbon Specialist:

Josh Green, Real Estate Specialist--MS Alluvial Valley: