Forests and Climate Change for Policymakers 101
Growing trees capture carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into carbon within usable solid wood.
Harvested trees made into wood products continue to store the carbon they captured as growing trees.
Forest owners plant millions of tree seedlings each year, renewing the cycle with vigorous young growth.
By providing a continuing cycle of planting, growing and harvesting, active forest management optimizes a forest’s ability to sequester and store carbon and improves resiliency, maintaining the ability to sequester carbon in the future.
At a landscape scale, managed forests are considered carbon sinks, meaning they reduce the net amount of CO2 in the atmosphere as they grow.
What is one step you can take to combat climate change? Buy and use forest products that store carbon and support continued investment in our nationʼs sustainably managed working forests.
Forests in the United States offset 12-15% of our emissions each year. With good policy, there is potential to do even more. As stewards of one of our most dependable emissions reduction technologies, we encourage policy leaders to integrate the following working forest principles into their climate mitigation strategies.
Carbon mitigation strategies that include forest owners, and encourage their participation are more likely to deliver the maximum emissions capture and storage potential of working forests. Sustainable forest management should be incentivized to encourage the sector to realize its full carbon potential.
Working forests must be recognized for providing two critical climate mitigation benefits: carbon sequestration as trees grow and continued carbon storage in the wood products they become.
Forest owner participation can deliver real carbon benefits at scale. For forest owners to participate, carbon mitigation policy needs to be clear and simple:
We rely on well-established data, proven methods and third-party certification to ensure the sustainable management of our forests and the wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits they provide.