Alligator River Avoided Forest Conversion

Hyde County, North Carolina

United States

Avoided Conversion

Technical details

In 2008, a landowner began clearing several thousand acres of coastal North Carolina forest adjoining the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, intending to plant corn, wheat, and soybeans. It was purely an economic decision. Forestland in the area, less than 10 miles from Pamlico Sound in the northeastern part of the state, sold for $500 an acre. Cropland went for $3,200 an acre, more than 6 times as much.

Then, according to the Alligator River Project Design Document (, “the landowner became aware that carbon revenues could potentially provide sufficient revenues to justify maintaining the entire property as forest.” The owner called off the bulldozers.

The forest, in Hyde County, had actually been drained and cleared before, in the 1960s. It had been allowed to naturally regenerate as forest, but the canals and ditches remain to this day. Simply unblocking them would again drain the wetlands and allow the land to be cleared. If that happened, the trees (which have no timber value) and other vegetation would be burned.

Instead, the landowner worked with the environmental consulting company Bluesource to develop a carbon offset project. On May 14, 2010, the owner conveyed a permanent conservation easement to the US Department of Agriculture. As a result, 2 separate parcels totaling 2,372 acres will remain as forestland and wetlands in perpetuity. That protects habitat for a wide variety of animals, fish, plants, and insects next to the wildlife refuge.

The forest will continue to grow naturally, pulling carbon dioxide out of the air as it does so. Avoiding the conversion to cropland also prevents more than 410,000 metric tons (451,948 US tons) of carbon—in the form of live and dead trees, tree roots, and soil components—from being released into the atmosphere.

Cloverly buys offsets that meet accepted standards for being real, measurable, verifiable, permanent, and additional. "Additional" means that the carbon savings would not have happened without the offset project and that the project would not have happened unless it got certified to sell carbon offsets. Climate Action Reserve oversees verification of the Alligator River project. You can find verification documents at

For an interactive map of the projects in our portfolio, see

Total Capacity

Instrument Type

Carbon Offset

Registry Name

Climate Action Reserve