There is no safe climate future if we don’t invest in our natural systems. Natural Climate Solutions are strategies that harness natural systems to help fight the climate crisis and provide countless other benefits to our communities and ecosystems. Because of forests’ unparalleled carbon-sequestering abilities, efforts like reforestation (replanting trees where a forest has been destroyed or damaged), afforestation (growing forests where there weren’t any before), and improving management practices in existing forests, have recently gained widespread attention as especially powerful natural climate solutions.
In our current reality, increasing carbon sequestration must be a key value of public forest management. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages 2.1 million acres of public forestland in Washington. These forests, particularly those on Washington’s west coast, are especially powerful at sequestering carbon, and are high priority areas for increasing forest carbon stores. We believe it is the agency’s responsibility to manage these forests in a way that increases the amount of carbon they store, while delivering other benefits that increase community and ecosystem health and resilience.
DNR and the Board of Natural Resources, which sets land management policies for the agency, has it in their power to do something significant for climate action on our public lands. We are pushing the Board of Natural Resources to adopt a carbon policy that guides how the state manages public forests in the face of the climate crisis.
As a part of our focus on forest carbon, WEC hosts an annual conference where attendees learn and share about projects and issues related to carbon sequestration and climate change in West Coast working forests.
Rachel Baker, Forest Program Director