Jeff Schnurr

Jeff Schnurr of Community Forests International has found a way to earn $70,000 annually by selling carbon credits to big companies in Canada. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

A Sackville environmental group has found a way to earn money from its woodlots in New Brunswick by allowing trees to grow.

Jeff Schnurr, executive director of Community Forests International, says the organization is making about $70,000 every year by selling carbon offsets to companies.

"We've got a highly degraded forest and we've got the economic conditions that people are looking for another alternative," he says.

"So when we were approached and started tossing around the idea of doing a carbon offset project here it just made perfect sense."

Community Forests International has 71 hectares of forest in New Brunswick and Schnurr says five companies from across Canada are paying the group to manage that land sustainably.

Craig Applegath, an associate with the Toronto architecture and design firm Dialog, says buying carbon offsets from Community Forests International made sense for his company.

He says his company creates carbon dioxide through flying, driving and using electricity.

"We thought to ourselves, we cannot call ourselves a sustainable design firm and have a huge carbon foot print, so we all agreed that we'd be carbon neutral and that's when we started talking to CFI," said Applegath.

Schnurr says the partnership has worked so well he believes it could open the door to other woodlot owners in New Brunswick to do something similar.

"The current economic model around forestry forces people to cut more trees, pushes them to clear cut just to make a living to survive," said Schnurr.

"And the private woodlot sector ... you know there's a lot of good people working in the woods that know exactly how to manage a forest, how to do it sustainably, they just need the opportunity."