landowners playing role in fight against global warming
San Jose Mercury News, Wed, Dec. 28,
article was accompanied by a photo of supposed selective logging in
the Stanislaus National Forest. Note that the Van Eck Forest she refers
to was owned by a New York millionaire until he bequethed it to Notre
Dame University. It is managed by Jim Able, and is one of the few examples
I've seen of selective logging in the Humboldt Bay
California's forests have something to celebrate.
The first forest projects in California designed specifically to fight global warming were recently announced at the United Nations conference on climate change in Montreal. By registering in the California Climate Action Registry, the Garcia River Forest in Sonoma County and the Van Eck property in Humboldt show a new model for protecting natural resources.
The projects will reduce greenhouse gases, restore streams
and roads, all while working to produce timber. Perhaps most surprising
is that well-known environmental groups, including the Conservation
Fund, the Pacific Forest Trust, the Nature Conservancy and the State
Coastal Conservancy, will actually manage logging on these lands to
They see that a quiet revolution going on in our forests.
Despite the fact that today's timber industry is more committed to sustainability
and efficiency than ever before, landowners who once supplied mills
with timber are being driven out of business by convoluted regulations
and skyrocketing real estate prices. And just when forest owners face
All of this means that the broad expanses of private forests so critical to California's water supply, wildlife and sustainable wood production are being chopped up for legions of baby boomers looking to retire and move out of the city. The wild lands we love are morphing into suburbia.
Fortunately, a new attitude about working forests is emerging. California universities are turning out graduates who enter the resource management field with the technical sophistication and environmental ethics to manage forests for resources and timber. Environmental groups and rural landowners are learning to reach goals that meet each others' needs, and this cooperation keeps landowners on the land -- and developers out.
With 45 to 60 percent of the world's terrestrial carbon
stored in forests, and one-third of the United States in forest cover,
it makes perfect sense to include forests in our climate change strategy.
In spite of embarrassing federal intransigence, California is forging
a new path in offering landowners a means to record their ``early good
The state will never be able to protect all of our forests by turning them into public lands, nor should we. A better way to guarantee protection is to provide incentives -- less cumbersome paperwork, rewards for protection of water quality and open space, economical timber production, and sequestering carbon. These incentives will allow forest landowners to be economically sound stewards of the land, while adhering to strict environmental principles.
Toss out the old imagery of logging. When environmental groups not only accept harvesting, but offer projects to do it themselves, it's time to take notice.
The California Native Plant Society's mission is to preserve and protect native plants in their natural habitats.