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.