The USFS Climate Change Resource Center estimates that “U.S. forests currently serve as a carbon ‘sink’, offsetting approximately 13% of U.S. emissions from burning fossil fuels in 2011, and from 10 to 20% of U.S. emissions each year.”
Because Virginia’s national forests are some of the most intact public lands in the east, these 1.8 million acres have the ability to significantly contribute to carbon storage and climate resilience for our region and older forests have been found to be especially excellent carbon sinks.
Keeping forests “as forests” is one of the least expensive means to store carbon. These forests also, clean drinking water, control flood waters, provide opportunities for species to move and adapt as climate changes, and protect us all from climate change.
Despite all the benefits provided, Virginia’s national forests are under constant threat from industrial pressures. Connecting, preserving and enhancing these important public lands must be a priority to maintain these critical ecosystem services.
The Great American Stand: US forests and the climate emergency.
This report from our partners at the Dogwood Alliance, calls for new wave of policies that recognize the indispensable benefits of standing forests, while demonstrating that greater protection and restoration of forests can create new economic opportunities for rural landowners and communities.
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