I support responsible forestry. There is a demand for timber in this country, state, nation, and world. We have a tremendous supply of timber, in an area that grows it very quickly. Our task is to sustainably harvest it, in a balanced way that recognizes the importance of our forests for their environmental benefits, to humans, wildlife, watersheds, and clear air, recreational benefits, and economic benefits. We have a tremendous opportunity to sequester carbon and make an impact on climate change with our forests.
I support the State’s and County’s intent to protect farm and forestland under Goal 3 and 4. However, I would like to see a change that allows those lands to be utilized in carbon sequestration programs, which may require an exemption from “ growing and harvesting of forest tree species and the maintenance of forestland for such purposes as the leading use on privately owned land.”
Currently, the requirement of harvesting of the forests as leading use of that land conflicts with what we need our forests to do for carbon sequestration, in order to combat climate change. Current building material alternatives, such as steel1 and concrete2, generally exceed the carbon emissions of timber3.
I would also like to see other options explored for income generation for our forests, beyond timber harvesting and especially clear cutting. Areas of revenue could include carbon credits from sequestration, tourism, hunters and anglers permits, non-timber products, recreational access, and conservation reserves.
How can we sustainably harvest timber to meet demands and reduce alternative building methods that contribute to climate change, while protecting our streams and wildlife, increasing alternative revenue from our forests, and ensuring a healthful environment for our children? These are tough questions and I hope to pursue the answers vigorously along with forestry experts, conservationists, climate activists, indigenous groups, and other stakeholders.