Science and Practice #13: Land Conservation with Peter Stein

In this episode, Michael speaks with Peter Stein, a managing director at The Lyme Timber Company in Hanover, New Hampshire.

In addition to his current work, Peter has a long history of work in the land conservation movement. He was one of the founding staff of the Trust for Public Land, eventually becoming a senior vice president there. Michael and Peter discuss the history of the land trust movement and the challenging but still evolving relationship it has had with equity and community rights. Later on they talk about Peter’s role at Lyme Timber, which is what is known as a Timber Investment Management Organization, or TIMO. Peter described how his move there was at a fortunate time, given several important transitions that were occurring. First, there was a large divestment of paper products companies of their forest assets, creating organizations like Lyme Timber. And second, such organizations were increasingly using what are known as conservation easements, which constrain the development rights on a piece of land in exchange for some kind of subsidy.

Finally, Michael and Peter discuss the role that carbon markets and specifically carbon offsets are playing in the forest sector. Carbon offsets are a kind of payment for ecosystem service that are often integrated into the regulatory regime of a carbon market, but the voluntary  offset space is now growing rapidly as well.