Opinion: Sec. Vilsack Listen to Family Forest Owners

Since 81 percent of New Hampshire is forested and 52 percent of that is owned by families, it will do well for woodlot owners to pay attention to the role and potential economic beneftis family woodlot owners, especially those in the 10 to 1,000 acre range, can play in climate change.

Sandwich, N.H photo by Leonard Witt

Here is a  link to an  opinion piece by Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation. It appears in Agri-Pulse and is addressed to newly confirmed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Some key points:

  • Currently, U.S. forests and forest products sequester and store roughly 15% of the country’s annual carbon emissions, representing our single largest natural carbon sink. More importantly, studies suggest this could be nearly doubled with the right actions.

  • Family forest owners represent 1 in 4 rural Americans…They want their land to remain as a forest into the future and improve its health today, both key climate mitigation strategies.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture… can help small family forest owners access carbon markets, which would leverage billions in private funding to help finance climate action.

  • Carbon markets provide small forest owners with an avenue for generating income from their land that they can put back into the trees. Carbon markets also encourage landowners to create forest plans and work with professional foresters – critical steps to long-term care of our forests.

  • Presently, carbon markets are inaccessible to small forest owners. In fact, 98% of the properties in existing carbon projects are large industrial tracts of 5,000 acres or more. Less than 1% are on acreages between 20 and 1,000— the size range of the majority of family-owned properties in the U.S.

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