Senators Applauded For Leadership On Forestry Elements Of Climate Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. 11/4/2009: Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., along with Senators Max Baucus, D-Monn., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Mark Begich, D-AK, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, today introduced legislation to expand the role of forests in fighting climate change by increasing incentives for domestic carbon sequestration.

Sen. Stabenow said, “We have the opportunity in this clean energy debate not only to protect the environment but also to create jobs, and revitalize our economy. That is what my bill does. It creates a partnership between our manufacturing and agricultural industries. It will encourage and reward conservation efforts by farmers and landowners while at the same time helping manufacturers make investments in advanced technology and jobs here at home. By doing so, we can reduce costs now, creating a bridge to a clean energy economy tomorrow.”

Tom Martin, President of the American Forest Foundation, said, “America’s forests need to be part of the climate change solution. Sen. Stabenow’s bill can help get us to what EPA says is possible for U.S. forests-expanding their carbon storage capacity so they store 20% of all U.S. carbon emissions each year. Sen. Stabenow and the bill’s cosponsors are to be commended for tackling climate change in a creative way that benefits rural economies, clean water, wildlife, and families who are trying to make a living by working their wooded lands.”

Jad Daley, Director of Climate Change for The Trust for Public Land, said, “Forests can provide up to 80% of the initial domestic offsets we need to affordably implement a cap and trade system. Without including forests, the cost to consumers will be considerably higher. In addition, rewarding landowners for sequestering carbon in their woods is a good way to help slow the current loss of 1.5 million acres of private forestland each year.”

A diverse group of forestry, wildlife, conservation, and woodland owner organizations today applauded Senator Stabenow and her colleagues’ leadership in calling attention to the important role forests should play in reducing carbon emissions. The group includes organizations such as the Hardwood Federation, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Foresters, and The Nature Conservancy.

Key provisions of the Stabenow bill include:

  • A strong role for the U.S. Agriculture Department, which houses the U.S. Forest Service, in the development and implementation of forest offset markets. The Forest Service is the most experienced agency in matters involving working woodlands.
  • Recognition of improved forest management projects, including appropriate crediting for harvested wood products. While tree planting is often viewed as the typical offset, the fact is that the most significant carbon gains in woodlands can be made by adjusting management of existing woodlands to improve their carbon storage capacity.
  • Rewards for early adopters who participate in voluntary offset markets, such as the Chicago Climate Exchange, if the market standards meet federal standards.
  • Flexible contracting tools for landowners to engage in offset markets. This could include allowing carbon contracts of varying lengths, as a way to significantly broaden participation.
  • An allowance-funded Carbon Conservation Program, with forest provisions administered by the Forest Service, which would provide a range of flexible incentives for woodland owners. This will most notably benefit America’s millions of small woodland owners-often holding parcels of 100 acres or less-who will be largely unable to participate in offset markets but who can still provide significant carbon sequestration and storage benefits on their lands.

The American Forest Foundation’s Martin said, “This is a step toward making woodland owners lead players in solving climate change. It’s a well-leveraged package of incentives that serves many audiences by helping keep woodlands out of development and working to provide sustainable wood, clean water, wildlife, and recreational opportunities for our communities.”

Signers of the Stabenow Letter
American Forest Foundation
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Binational Softwood Lumber Council
Conservation Forestry, LLC
First Environment, Inc.
Forest Guild
Hardwood Federation
Lyme Timber Company
Maine Forest Service
National Alliance of Forest Owners
National Association of State Foresters
National Association of University Forest Resource Programs
National Hardwood Lumber Association
Pacific Forest Trust
Society of American Foresters
The Nature Conservancy
The Trust for Public Land
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations and public finance to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, playgrounds, and wilderness. TPL has protected more than 2.5 million acres since it was created in 1972.

The American Forest Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation education organization that encourages the long-term sustainability of America’s forests, restores wildlife habitat, and develops quality environmental education programs, to assure that Americans today, and in the future, enjoy healthy, growing forests. Visit