Ecotrust study lauds carbon storage of Oregon forest
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
Reduce timber harvests from Oregon's Elliott State Forest by just a quarter and store enough carbon to equal the removal of 10,000 cars from U.S. highways.
So says Ecotrust, citing the results of a carbon analysis study conducted by the organization for the Oregon office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
After studying the carbon storage potential of the forest under different management scenarios, researchers found that reducing annual timber harvests in the 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest from 40 million board feet to 30 million board feet, would save about 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year on average over the next 40 years.
The researchers based their analysis on the Climate Action Reserve's forest project protocol, said Steve Dettman, Ecotrust forest carbon program manager.
Dettman said the analysis wasn't conducted with the goal of determining what carbon offsets could be sold by the state for the carbon stored in state forest trees, but for better forest management planning in light of the threat of a warming planet spurred on by greenhouse gas emissions.
"We want to learn how we can incorporate the issues of climate change into management planning decisions on public lands," Dettman said. "You can't do that without this kind of modeling."
The Oregon departments of forestry and state lands collaborated with Ecotrust on the study, "Carbon Analysis of Proposed Forest Management Regimes on the Elliott State Forest," which is available on the Ecotrust website.
The Oregon Global Warming Commission has recommended a full carbon inventory of state forest lands.
Elliott State Forest, just east of Reedsport, is made up of a mix of young and mature conifers including Douglas fir, western hemlock and Sitka spruce. If no timber harvests were to occur, the cumulative carbon dioxide stored would be about 46.6 million metric tons by 2025.
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