Action Alert: Take action to increase forest carbon storage!

Keep it in the trees!

Given the fairly chaotic state of the world over the past several months, I missed the moment in March when Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order 20-04 directing state agencies to exercise their authority to reduce causing greenhouse gas emissions and address historical social injustices by helping impacted and vulnerable communities adapt to climate change. Have you seen it? When I finally read the Order, I was heartened to see the state getting serious about the work needed to address the impacts of our changing climate. However, as with any top-down directive, my questions remain: Will real change happen? Will state agencies fundamentally shift their way of doing business?

As you know, Bark is focused on advocating for Mt. Hood National Forest and hasn’t traditionally been involved in state forest policy. However, we are in a time when this distinction is becoming more blurred: carbon emissions don’t follow lines on a map and climate change impacts all of us. On the ten million acres of state and industrial forests that the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) regulates, rampant clear cut logging on short rotation cycles is the most common practice. As a result, highly productive forests store far less carbon than they would if they were allowed to grow older. As it becomes ever clearer that logging in Oregon is one of the greatest sources of carbon emissions, Bark has joined allies around the state encouraging ODF to change state forest practices to maximize carbon storage.

While ODF has so far been unwilling to take steps needed to address climate change related to its forest management, the Oregon Global Warming Commission has the power to direct ODF toward more climate-informed forestry. And, EO 20-04 now provides the catalyst for real change – if we keep the pressure on.

Let ODF know why we need to keep it in the trees!

Bark Volunteers measuring a large tree in Crystal Clear Timber Sale with glee.

On July 28th, the Commission is meeting, and Bark is joining allies around the state in asking the Commission to step in and work with ODF to meet the requirements of EO 20-04. Please send a letter to ODF and the Commission encouraging them to begin a science-based process to reform Oregon's forest practices to protect water quality, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and store more carbon. 

Yours in struggle,  

Brenna Bell, Bark Policy Coordinator/Staff Attorney

P.S. And, as the Forest Service also needs to pressure to shift towards maximizing carbon storage and mitigating the impacts of climate change, join me on August 4th for a comment writing training focused on the climate impacts of the Zigzag Timber Sale.