Two interconnected measures are required to reduce climate change to manageable levels: 1) Direct cuts in fossil fuel-based energy use in power plants, transportation, buildings, food systems and other sources; and 2) Increased sequestration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses and the prevention of their release from ecological systems. 

Worldwide, forests sequester more than 80% of all terrestrial aboveground carbon and more than 70% of all soil carbon. In the U.S., according to U.S. EPA over 90% of net CO2 sequestration occurs on forestlands totaling about 200 teragrams of carbon a year, which is about 10% of total U.S. emissions. Consequently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, National Academy of Sciences, and other science organizations say that increasing the capacity of U.S. forests to sequester carbon is a key to avoiding runaway climate disruption.

However, numerous timber harvest, road building, biomass, natural gas, and other development proposals exist on federal forests throughout the nation that would undermine sequestration efforts and instead release more carbon dioxide, methane and other gasses. At the same time, forests, waterbodies, and ecological systems that hold carbon provide habitat for terrestrial, avian, and aquatic biodiversity and serve as critical buffers against catastrophic floods, diminished snowpack and streamflows, and other climate impacts. Thus, optimizing carbon sequestration will help conserve ecologically important forest and biological resources while helping communities withstand and adapt to climate impacts.

TRIG’s new Federal Forest Carbon Initiative addresses both of these issues head on. It seeks to enact the first-ever federal policies to optimize carbon sequestration on federal forestlands nationwide and thus reduce the impacts of climate disruption globally while protecting ecosystems, biodiversity, and communities.

TRIG launched the Federal Forest Carbon Coalition (FFCC) in February 2014 to increase awareness nationally about the important role of forests in storing carbon and to determine and promote specific forest managment policies for federal lands. The FFCC now has more than 60 member organizations from across the country. Learn more about the coalition on the FFCC website: 

Janaury 20, 2015: FFCC Members Call on Obama Administration to Recognize Importance of Tongass National Forest

Thirty-two Federal Forest Carbon Coalition (FFCC) Members signed the a letter on recognizing, conserving, and increasing carbon stores on Tongass National Forest in Alaska. The FFCC has a national focus and normally does not comment on forest specific issues. However, we believe it is appropriate for the FFCC to weigh in this issue because the Tongass holds by far the most carbon of any national forest in the U.S. and because the right decisions and actions there can provide a model for forest carbon management on other forests nationwide. The letter was sent to White House and other federal officials on Tuesday January 20, 2015. Read the letter and see the list of signatories here.

June 26, 2014: FFCC Urges Obama Administration to Modernize Forest Management to Protect the Climate

Learn more and access the summary and full report: "Modernizing Federal Forest Management To Mitigate and Prepare For Climate Disruption Science-based Recommendations to The Obama Administration in Response to The President's November 1, 2013 Executive Order: Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change."