Landscape Architects Support Indigenous Communities Through Conference Offset Program

ASLA forms a partnership with the National Indian Carbon Coalition to offset greenhouse gas emissions produced by its 2024 conference

ExpoFond Du Lac Band Forest Carbon Project, Minnesota / © Stan Tekiela, courtesy of National Indian Carbon Coalition

ASLA announced a new partnership with the National Indian Carbon Coalition (NICC) to offset greenhouse gas emissions from its ASLA 2024 Conference on Landscape Architecture in Washington, D.C., October 6-9.

While it pursues its goal of reducing emissions by 20 percent by the end of 2024, ASLA has committed to purchasing up to 3,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide emission offsets from NICC this year (equivalent to 3,500 carbon credits). This partnership will also advance the cultural empowerment and climate equity goals of the ASLA Climate Action Plan, which was released in 2022.

The carbon offsets NICC will provide have been generated in the Tribal Forests of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota. The Fond du Lac Band’s forest carbon project is a natural climate solution that generates carbon credits through Improved Forest Management.

“With this partnership, we can support Indigenous communities in their efforts to protect the land and native forests, increase resilience to climate impacts, generate income, and enhance biodiversity,” said SuLin Kotowicz, FASLA, ASLA President.

“We are pleased to work with ASLA to provide access to forestry professionals and financial resources for Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities. This project reduces the rate of deforestation while supporting healthy ecosystems,” said Bryan Van Stippen, Program Director, NICC.

The Fond du Lac Band will use the income generated from carbon sales, which would otherwise come from harvesting trees, to:

  • Strengthen community infrastructure
  • Steward a native, growing forest
  • Support long-term carbon storage
  • Enhance biodiversity and protect habitat
  • Create measurable climate benefits

The Fond du Lac Band has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by developing and promoting projects and policies that advance sustainability and energy efficiency. After successfully reducing emissions by 20 percent in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol, the Fond du Lac Band Reservation Business Committee continued its mission to create climate benefits by enrolling nearly 8,200 acres of forestland into a forest carbon project in 2020.

The forest carbon project aims to generate 480,000 carbon credits by 2030 while supporting the climate goals of carbon offset buyers. The project will protect 5.3 million trees from harvesting for 40 years. In total, an estimated 1,920,000 tons of carbon will be sequestered.

The lands of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa span 101,000 acres and include more than 44,000 acres of forest. The Band grows a culturally important food source – manoomin (wild rice) – across five wild rice lakes covering more than 800 acres. The Fond Du Lac Band’s land is also home to black bears, timber wolves, fishers, marten, bald eagles, owls, moose, and white-tailed deer.

“We can’t assume that we manage the forest and trees. We’re in a relationship with them,” said Kevin DuPuis, Chairman of the Fond du Lac Band. In an interview with NICC and The Nature Conservancy, DuPuis explained: “This land is part of my being. Every part of my being. It’s a birthright, and it’s part of the natural world. If we don’t have woods, fish, wildlife, and rice, we cease to exist as a people. It’s about our culture and identity. It’s hard for people to understand that, but where our rice beds are—the plants, the animals, the medicines, the trees themselves—that’s us as a people.”

The lead sponsor of ASLA 2024 conference carbon offsets is Bartlett Tree Experts

In 2023, ASLA partnered with Green Minneapolis on carbon offsets and its members and sponsors contributed more than $43,000 to purchase 1,225 offset credits.


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