Friends of the Van Duzen River
A Grass Roots community organization comprised of residents and visitors to the Van Duzen Region. We are Dedicated to helping to restore the river for future Generations

Forest landowners playing role in fight against global warming

San Jose Mercury News, Wed, Dec. 28, 2005
By Andrea Tuttle

This 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
region--certainly not the norm.
Jennifer Kalt


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 save them
and better the environment. Why do these respected environmental groups endorse cutting down trees?

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 great
obstacles to harvesting, they are confronting unrelenting pressure to sell their land to developers.

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
actions'' through the Climate Action Registry ( To earn a ``carbon credit,'' forest
landowners must show that they remove more carbon from the atmosphere than they would under business as usual. And one key way to earn creditsis by committing to keep the land in forest use, instead of converting to asphalt and shopping malls.

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.

ANDREA TUTTLE is the former director of the California Department of
Forestry and Fire Protection, and a visiting faculty member at
UC-Berkeley's College of Natural Resources. She wrote this article for
the Mercury News.

Jennifer Kalt
Conservation Chair
Norh Coast Chapter
California Native Plant Society
P.O. Box 1067
Arcata, CA 95518

The California Native Plant Society's mission is to preserve and protect native plants in their natural habitats.

Friends of the Van Duzen River
PO Box 315
Carlotta, CA 95528
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