DCOI is currently exploring a partnership with a local land trust centered on the joint development of an avoided conversion project in Durham County. DCOI's interest in developing an avoided conversion project stemmed from conversations with sustainability staff at Clarkson University in 2018. Hearing about Clarkson's research into using avoided conversion to protect land and biodiversity along the Algonquin to Adirondacks corridor, and realizing the high concentration of co-benefits associated with the project type quickly made avoided conversion a piority for DCOI.
DCOI pitched a masters project focused on avoided conversion to Duke Nicholas School of the Environment Masters of Environmental Management and Masters of Forestry (MEM & MF) students in early 2018. A group of three highly qualified students was soon assembled with DCOI acting as their client. The team's goal was to create a a GIS tool for DCOI to use in the analysis of potential parcels for an avoided conversion project. The tool allows DCOI staff to rank the importance of various carbon sequestration and conservation variables, and creates a ranked list of parcels in North Carolina based on that input. The team's final paper, titled Multi-Objective GIS Analysis for Avoided Conversion Carbon Credits and Biodiversity Conservation, can be found here.