Anniversary of the Forest Carbon and Climate Program

Celebrating 10 years of forest-climate solutions

Photo of FCCP team members Daniel Ortega-Pacheco, Daphna Gadoth, Evan Beresford, Emily Esch, and Sandra Lupien (Masstimber@msu)


The Forest Carbon and Climate Program (FCCP), part of the Michigan State University Department of Forestry, was founded in 2014 to address educational needs and knowledge gaps surrounding forests as climate change solutions.

The FCCP 2030 strategic plan will build upon a decade of growth and success in providing world-class education, research, and outreach and engagement benefiting the forest sector, the nation, and people around the globe. Building on these strong connections, MSU FCCP will pursue external resources and partnerships that provide the platforms necessary to develop forest-based solutions to climate change.

Like-minded partners have helped to expand our scope and reach, support multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary grant proposals that span sustainable forest management and the full incorporation of wood utilization and wood products as part of a climate solution. Forging new partnerships with industry will ensure MSU contributions unleash private investment needed to close the forest finance gap by building trust in high-integrity forest climate action.


How it started

The FCCP originated from the Department of Forestry’s online Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy, and Management. Consisting of three graduate level courses, the certificate equips participants with the knowledge to understand and plan forest-based carbon projects, including measurements and monitoring practices, policy, economics, and finance, and human dimensions associated with the management of forest carbon. 

Growth and offerings

Recognizing the need for introductory educational offerings besides a time-demanding and immersive graduate certificate, founding FCCP Director Lauren Cooper began creating additional content suitable to learners with diverse educational backgrounds and varied time availability.

In 2016, the FCCP hosted its first free webinar series, in coordination with ‘Forest-Climate Working Group’ and support from American Forests. The series has evolved into a permanent Learning Exchange Series involving several public and private organizations acting as partners.

In 2017, the Open Resource Library was created, which is a free online library of open access webinars, educational videos, papers, and downloadable graphics.

2018 brought the first online non-credit course, Forest Certification and Climate Change, designed for working professionals and sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Since 2020, the program has seen exponential growth, with additional team members added, expanding research opportunities and publications, and increased global participation and engagement. There are now five additional courses, one of which is offered in English and Spanish attracting participants from Latin and South America.

Daphna Gadoth and Lauren Cooper at Women's Forest Congress event


  • Mobilized $1.5 million in external funding during the last 5 years
  • Engaged professionals in 28+ countries (and expanding!)
  • Provided enhanced professional skills to 1326+ people to ensure high-integrity forest-carbon action
  • Promoted climate-smart innovation in forest management, harvesting practices, and wood-products compatible with nature-based solutions
  • Engaged with a diversity of stakeholders and audiences to mobilize climate action including forest and land managers, landowners, policy and environmental analysts, scientists and researchers, sustainability officers, conservation professionals, program directors

Key figures

  • An online graduate certificate with over 60 graduates
  • Created 7 online, non-credit, professional development courses with over 1,100 course participants
  • Hosted or cohosted 4 year-long webinars series, reaching thousands of participants.
  • Has created open access education through the open resource library of 24 papers, 104 downloadable images, a forest carbon data and modeling guide with papers and webinars, and 26 educational videos on forest carbon and adaptive management techniques
Chad Papa at Northern Institute of
Applied Climate Science Event

Looking ahead

Ten years later, the program has become a unique resource in the forest - climate landscape and is excited to welcome a new director, Daniel Ortega-Pacheco! There are many exciting plans for this year include the launch of a new professional development course, policy tracking initiatives, continued webinar series, and more educational videos. The program is working on development of a forest and climate course on Coursera to expand access and enrollment.

In celebration of the anniversary and looking ahead, the FCCP is holding a fundraiser during earth month to mobilize funding to continue its work delivering tools to support global climate education and policy. We welcome new and existing partners, donors, and funders to support the program and to continue its mission of utilizing forests a natural climate solution. Click this link to learn more about or donate to the fundraiser.

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