The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) applauds the new global commitment to end deforestation by 2030, an agreement signed by leaders from around the world at the COP26 climate summit last week. Healthy and resilient forests are critical to meeting climate goals. As global leaders in sustainable forest management, NAFO members encourage U.S. leaders to take action supporting measures to keep forests intact and increase sustainable management practices in developing nations. Forests provide enormous environmental and climate mitigation benefits that should be recognized by our leaders and strengthened through policies that support sustainable forest management.
Because of modern, sustainable forestry practices in the United States, annual net-forest sequestration is nearly 800 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). This is added to nearly 150 billion metric tons of CO2e stored in our forests, equivalent to a full 85 years’ worth of 2018 total CO2e emissions from U.S. electricity production from fossil fuels. Privately owned, sustainably managed, working forests provide nearly three-quarters of the nation’s gross forest-carbon sequestration and more than 50 percent of its forest carbon storage. Sustainable, renewable wood products also extend forest carbon storage in wood products that store nearly 9.8 billion metric tons of CO2e, more than double the carbon locked away in all U.S. national parks.
“Sustainable forest management in the United States is the gold standard of keeping forests intact, healthy, and providing enormous carbon sequestration and storage benefits,” said Dave Tenny, founding President and CEO of NAFO. “Sustainable forest management ensures that we can maintain an ongoing cycle of growing, harvesting, and replanting – far different from the deforestation and forest degradation we see in some parts of the world.”
Forest owners in the United States meet the highest standards of sustainable management in the world. By annually harvesting and replanting about 2 percent of the private working forest land base, forest owners provide 90 percent of the timber harvest needed for carbon-beneficial wood products – products that displace fossil fuel intensive alternatives. Each year private forest owners in the U.S. plant more than 1 billion seedlings. Since 1958, U.S. forest cover has been stable and forest volume has increased by 60 percent. We welcome this agreement from the COP26 climate summit as a significant step forward for the world’s forests and our shared future.
The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) is a national advocacy organization committed to advancing federal policies that ensure our working forests provide clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and jobs through sustainable practices and strong markets. NAFO member companies own and sustainably manage more than 46 million acres of private working forests – forests that are managed to provide a steady supply of timber. NAFO’s membership also includes state and national associations representing tens of millions of additional acres. Private working forests in the U.S. support 2.5 million jobs. Private working forests – which provide 90% of our timber harvest for wood and fiber – also account for nearly three-quarters of our total gross forest carbon sequestration. Learn more at nafoalliance.org.