What's so important about this climate bill anyway?

Last week, Chuck Leavell, American Forest Foundation board member, family woodland owner and keyboard player for the Rolling Stones placed an op-ed on CNN's website about America's forests and climate change. It was a great article; Chuck has been a friend and advocate for AFF and family forests for many years.
But, with all the talk about healthcare in Congress, somehow climate change has gotten lost in the shuffle! We can't let that happen. As woodland owners, you recognize the value of America's forests. And they have a special value to all of us-a cost effective way to reduce our carbon emissions.
What's so important about this climate bill anyway? Climate legislation could be of benefit to both woodland owners and the environment-if woodland owners actively talk to their members of Congress so it is structured right. How could climate legislation benefit woodland owners?
  • New income streams through carbon credit markets: if structured appropriately, family woodland owners could see new income opportunities, if they choose to sell the carbon sequestered and stored in their forests, to emitters who will need to purchase "carbon credits" to offset their emissions.
  • New financial incentives for sustainable forest management: if a landowner is not interested in carbon markets, or for some reason cannot participate, climate legislation could also provide other financial incentives, similar to traditional landowner cost-share programs, for sustainable management that takes carbon out of the air.
  • Resources to help you adapt your woodland management in a changing climate: with a changing climate, our woods will change in significant ways-tree species ranges will shift and we'll likely see increases in fires and pests along with other forest health concerns. Climate legislation could provide the tools and science needed so we can keep our woodlands healthy.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that we can offset as much as 20% of annual U.S. emissions right here in our backyards. And with America's over 10 million family woodland owners, who own most of the private woodlands in the U.S., your woodlands can contribute significantly to reducing the nation's greenhouse gas emissions with enhanced sequestration and storage of carbon in our woods.

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