Walk through any northwest forest and you’ll find ties to our climate. Maybe it’s brown seedlings, increased breakage from ice storms, a blown out stream, or simply the remarkable biomass that surrounds you.
Forests are inarguably one of the world’s most important tools in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Roughly 50% of the dry biomass weight in a forest (trunks, branches, roots, leaves, and dead wood) is made up of carbon. Forests are perhaps the most tangible way that an individual can personally connect to climate change, and have an impact on it.
There are regional averages published for “baseline” carbon stocks in forested regions all across the country, based on a large US Forest Service inventory database. For example, one of the Hyla Woods forests has a baseline condition of 120 tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2E) per acre, the standard measure of carbon sequestration (1 credit is 1 metric ton of CO2E). As a result of many years of careful management and high growth rates, that forest currently has somewhere around 300 tons of CO2E per acre, meaning that we are storing about 180 tons of CO2E per acre. The average American emits an estimated 20 tons of CO2E per year (the global average is 4).
Using these numbers, that 160 acre Hyla Woods forest is storing 1,440 Americans’ annual carbon emissions. In addition, every year the forest stores approximately 40 Americans’ emissions, 200 of the average global citizen.
Not everyone’s lifestyle has the same carbon footprint. Are you someone who regularly flies? Do you drive a prius? Based on where you live, you can find a rough estimate of household carbon emissions at http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/american-carbon-footprint.
Best of all, do you have a forest?
While carbon markets are still evolving, forests are a tangible, local way to offset your carbon emissions. Springboard Forestry can help you to measure the carbon in your forest, incorporate it into your stewardship plan, establish a forestry regime that it carbon friendly, and match your forests carbon sequestration potential to your life’s carbon emissions.
What better way to offset carbon than with your own forest.
In the forest world we’re usually thinking 5, 10, 20, 100, or 500 years ahead. We pride ourselves on our ability to visualize a stand into the future.
Well this time of year it’s good to think about 4-6 months ahead. The summer is filling up fast for loggers, log prices are at all time highs, and it will be hard to get much done this summer unless it’s already planned. Log prices appear to be holding steady, with the exception of a dip in the hemlock price, and the real bottleneck in the supply chain appears to be logging capacity, especially for smaller jobs and thinning.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes until capacity fills in. From our travels this year, it’s been amazing to see the depth of cut to length operations (2 machine operations that use a processor to cut, limb and buck, and a forwarder to move the wood). It also has us thinking about why there aren’t more operators running these systems in the NW. They have the advantage of low soil compaction, the ability to work in a range of conditions, and they leave a beautiful residual stand. Something to think about going forward.
The below is a forwarder that we saw on a tour with the Northwest Natural Resources Group board of director.
There are few times better for thinking than with a tree planting bag around your waist, a shovel in your hand, and sideways rain pelting your face. This year found us re-planting a thinned unit, planting some small patch cuts, and going through and re-planting failed regeneration from past years, mostly the result of elk damage.
With tumultuous political winds, a seemingly runaway economy, and uncertainty all around, putting seedlings into the ground is one of the most hopeful things that we can do. To finish out the planting season I brought one cedar seedling home and planted it in our side yard. While even my grandchildren may never cut that one, it’s heartening to think of all those little seedlings out there, sucking up moisture and nutrients, and beginning to grow. In all likelihood, my children or grandchildren might harvest them, or thin around them, or simply walk under their canopy.
Seasons are starting to change here in the NW. While it’s sunny and 70 degrees at the coast, it’s foggy and freezing on the east side. Both are pretty good for working in the woods though.
It’s a great time of the year, as the leaves start to come off, to get out in the woods and check out interesting projects around the NW. Driving to a site near the coast.
The new Springboard Forestry website! As we grow, we hope to use this as a forum to discuss good forestry and share images from the NW.