PROTECT THE CLIMATE
We work to protect mature and old-growth trees and forests from logging across America's public lands as a cornerstone of U.S. climate policy.
Billion metric tons of carbon stored in U.S. federal forests. Federal forest protections are critical to safeguarding communities from the future impacts of climate change.
Million metric tons of carbon sequestered from the atmosphere by federal forestlands. There is no other technology that can match forests for carbon removal at this scale.
Forest carbon is stored in forest ecosystem pools vs. harvested wood products. This is why it's important to protect these critical carbon reservoirs.
We are calling on the Biden Administration to enact a strong, lasting rule across federal public lands that protects mature and old-growth trees and forests from logging, allowing the recovery of old-growth forests that have been lost. These forests are essential to removing climate pollution and storing carbon, safeguarding wildlife, and providing clean drinking water for our communities.
July 20, 2023
More than 530,000 people from across the country call on the US Forest Service to adopt a new national rule that would protect mature and old-growth trees and forests on federal public lands from logging.
April 17, 2023
The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management release an inventory of mature and old-growth trees on federal lands and request public input on how the agencies could adopt policies to better manage these forests.
April 22, 2022
President Biden takes executive action to inventory and conserve mature and old-growth forests on federal lands.
November 2, 2021
President Biden announces new plan to conserve global forests at COP26.
June 11, 2021
The Biden Administration commits to protecting 9 million acres of Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska and ending commercial old-growth logging.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
Why is it so important to protect our older trees and forests as a critical climate solution?Forests offer the single most powerful and effective way to remove carbon from our atmosphere. Mature and forests and big trees are the natural champions of carbon sequestration, storing carbon for decades, if not centuries. They are a low-cost resource that continues to grow as we all benefit from the services they provide, including clear air, clean water, habitat for wildlife, a haven for biodiversity and myriad options for recreation.
How will a future rule impact efforts to protect communities from the threat of wildfire?Conserving mature forests and trees is consistent with U.S. federal agency’s efforts to protect communities from the risk of wildfire. Mature trees often have thicker protective bark and mature forests with trees from different species and at different ages have multiple layers of vegetation–called “canopies”--that protect microclimates under their shade, keep temperatures cooler and enable the forest to retain more moisture in the air and soil (Lesmeister et al. 2019, Zald et al. 2018), making them better able to survive fires.
How do mature and old-growth forests prevent erosion and flooding?The extensive networks of root systems in old, undisturbed forests absorb rainfall efficiently, prevent runoff, stabilize water table levels and retain soil moisture. These processes regulate the flow across the land surface and help secure slopes, prevent water and wind erosion, while managing the transport of nutrients and sediments (Watson et al. 2016, DellaSala et al. 2011, Creed et al. 2016, Moomaw et al. 2019).
How do older forests protect drinking water?Forests naturally filter rainwater. Water from forested watersheds is much cleaner than water from urban or agricultural land. In the U.S., forests provide water to more than 150 million people, our largest source of drinking water (Furniss et al. 2010, USFS 2022, Segura et al. 2020, Perry et al. 2016), helping communities confront climate impacts like drought, heatwaves, and changing rainfall patterns.
How does protecting mature and old-growth forests help save fish and wildlife?Intact forests allow for generations of fish wildlife to build homes and raise their young, protected by the multi-layered shade of varied-age trees and nurtured by a stable foundation of forest microorganisms. Cavities in old trees and fallen logs are among the most favored nesting spots for birds and other forest dwellers. Older forests moderate latitude, altitude, rainfall and temperature (Watson et al. 2016).
How does a future rule relate to offsets?This effort is not related to offsets. Carbon sequestration and storage in mature and old-growth forests is separate and complementary to the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy.
How will this rulemaking affect traditional and customary uses by Tribal nations and their citizens on ancestral lands that are managed as federal forests?This campaign does not intend to interfere with traditional and customary uses of land within federal forests. Such uses are generally consistent with preserving mature and old-growth trees and forests. Any rulemaking process will need to include robust Tribal consultation and engagement. And any protections will need to recognize the importance of these uses and will not infringe upon Treaty rights. We are currently reaching out to Tribes nationwide whose interests could be potentially affected by a rulemaking like this. We hope to understand better how those interests could be affected, particularly the interests of those Tribes with traditional and cultural ties to existing old-growth/mature trees and stands within federal forestlands and those with significant timber interests and lands adjacent to federally managed forests.
IN THE NEWS...
Washington Post (April 20th, 2023)
Washington Post (April 21st, 2022)
Time (March 21st, 2022)
Washington Post (February 15th, 2022)