Forests, Climate and Carbon Campaign
Global Climate Change is one of the most serious environmental, social, and economic threats the world is facing today. Heartwood’s Forest, Climate and Carbon Campaign ties together all of our strategic programs, recognizing and promoting the role of forests in mitigating climate change. The campaign seeks to protect forests to maximize their role in in carbon storage, cooling, hydrating soil building, and weather generation. Priorities include stopping carbon withdrawals from forests and their subsurface areas and eliminating their use as incendiary fuels and carbon dioxide producers.
Global climate is influenced by changes in land cover. Large-scale conversions of forestland into agricultural land or urban development reduce carbon storage and the potential for sequestration and thus contribute to the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Global warming can affect forests by introducing new invasive plants, insects, and animals that expand their range as temperatures increase. Also, the forest could be put under increased stress from extreme weather events, changed weather patterns and seasons (warmer winters, for example), and increased likelihood of drought and forest fires.
The warming of the atmosphere is linked to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, including increases in carbon dioxide from changes in land management. Even though forests in the U.S. have acted as net carbon sinks since the 1950s, the annual additions to the sink (sequestration) appear to be declining. The Environmental Protection Agency lists the following forestry practices that can sequester carbon or preserve carbon storage: afforestation, reforestation, avoiding logging, and longer harvest-regeneration cycles.
Logging and burning, and taking out vegetation for other reasons do not increase the capacity of the forest as a carbon sink. They accelerate the rate of carbon dioxide release. Gas and oil and biomassextraction, transportation, and incineration immediately add huge volumes of carbon to the atmosphere in a negative feedback loop of accelerating carbon release and increasing climate change.