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How can we stop climate change, save forests and create jobs?

by Community Forests International on August 5, 2013

Healthy, natural forests like this old-growth hemlock and pine stand at Sporting Lake, NS, store much more carbon than young, fast growing plantations.

We're making use of innovative conservation tools that value forests for the life they sustain. In doing so we're investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in living forests that are the backbone of rural families, communities and economies. At the same time we're keeping and pulling thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, contributing in the fight against climate change. All is being accomplished by businesses taking responsibility for their greenhouse gas emissions. By supporting small woodlot owners, these businesses are harnessing these diverse, working forests to do what forests do best: sequester and store carbon. The result is a climate change fighting, habitat saving and job creating powerhouse of a conservation effort for the 21st century! Let me back up a bit. We've got a carbon problem. We've put too much into the atmosphere, and now the climate is going wacky. We need to stop putting more in, and need to pull as much as possible out. But our entire economy and food security depend on emitting carbon. New technologies are coming online all the time that eliminate the need to emit any carbon at all, but they're expensive and it will be some time before they can be rolled out on mass. In the mean time, we need to focus on pulling as much out as possible, and hopefully buy ourselves some time. Luckily we've got the perfect technology for pulling carbon out of the air: Forests. Forests are dominated by trees. Trees are made of wood. Wood is made of carbon. By not clearcutting and by growing trees to an older age and larger size, we can pull more carbon out of the air. Better yet, if we restore healthy forest ecosystems by growing older and larger trees and maintain those forests through ecoforestry, we store even more carbon in the forest ecosystem, soils and long-lived wood products. Many of Canada’s forests have been clearcut too often to grow back into healthy forests, especially in the south. But people only clearcut because it is the best way to generate immediate profits. And these clearcuts store much less carbon than do healthy forests. Therefore, by putting a dollar value on the carbon stored in living forests we can eliminate the profit motive that drives indiscriminate clearcutting. We can value our trees for the work they do when they’re alive. We can value our forests for the life they sustain! And healthy forests can do much more than store carbon. In addition to all the good ecological things, healthy forests support more jobs than clearcut forests do. It’s well known that larger, more valuable trees support 5 to 10 times more jobs per cubic meter of wood cut compared to smaller, less valuable trees from clearcuts. So by growing healthy forests by valuing the carbon stored in those forests, and maintaining that carbon through ecoforestry, we can create jobs in rural, forest dependent communities. People are loving our approach to carbon offsetting. So far we've worked with an award winning national design and architectural firm to reduce as much as possibe their carbon emission, and offset the remaining ones. Their operations are now carbon neutral by saving over 260 acres from being clearcut. We've worked with a new, young and dynamic travel company to offset the flights of their team leaders. They saved another 6 acres on their own, and liked it so much they wanted us to plant a tree for each of their customers. Light is the best disinfectant. So we lay everything out in the open where all can see. And we're working with strong legal tools to make sure thats the case. We protect land with legal easements that make sure the land will never be clearcut, cleared for agriculture or developed. We put the properties under management to the Forest Stewardship Council. And we work the the Verified Carbon Standard - the world's most trusted forest carbon offset verifier - to ensure that our projects and offsets are real, legitimate, traceable and improve the communities in which they take place. We're pushing forward. We believe in this so much, we bought our own land to test it on. We wanted to make sure we got it right, and any mistakes we made would be our own to deal with. We're now ready to scale our effort to new lands, ensuring private landowners doing the right thing get recognised for it. Follow this newsletter for updates. If you think we're on the right track, let us know. Subscribe to our update list, and email me (dale@forestsinternational.org) to let me know that you're supportive. If you would be interested in purchasing verified offsets once we have them, let me know because it helps us redouble our efforts knowing we're barking up the right tree. Keep watch for big things: they're coming!

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