Working landscapes are the key
About 74 million acres of America's forest land is protected as a park or wilderness area, but there are about 512 million acres of working timberland. On these timberlands, changes in management choices can increase wildlife habitat or the health of native species, which in turn can add to the resilience and adaptation of our forests to an altered climate. Forest managers regularly plant trees after harvest, so planting species that may be better adapted to a new climate does not require a philosophical shift. Some working forests can even increase carbon sequestration by extending rotations, employing low impact logging practices, or other relatively small changes. In Western forests, burning logging residue and material removed in fuel reduction efforts to generate heat and/or electricity can help reduce fossil fuel consumption.
The preservation of unique ecosystems and charismatic species as climate changes is daunting. Management of working landscapes is a crucial tool to help us confront that challenge.
Forest Guild, Research Director
Santa Fe, New Mexico