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Modern, sustainable forest management leads to climate-smart outcomes in working forests.

Outcome 2

Keeping Forests of the Landscape

A forest sequesters and stores more carbon than any other land-use. Keeping our nation's forests intact, by reducing unnecessary forest conversion to other land uses and promoting appropriate reforestation, can have significant carbon benefits. In 2021, 98.3 million metric tons of carbon were sequestered from lands converted to forests. However, 56.5 million tons were emitted from forestland converted to cropland and 81.1 million tons were emitted from forestland converted to either urban or rural developments that include housing (EPA 2023).

How do we know this is true?

In the US, carbon gains due to land converted to forests and carbon losses due to land converted to cropland or development are reported through EPA’s Annual GHG Inventory reports and periodic state reports. FIA’s State Fact Sheets lists annual acres converted to- and away from- forests. Tools and Data – Forest Inventory and Analysis National Program. 

Ensuring that we keep forests on the landscape:

Healthy forest product markets enable private working forest owners to invest in the long-term sustainability of their land, thereby reducing the likelihood of conversion to other uses. In addition, Fiber Sourcing Certification systems avoid deforestation and controversial sources:

  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification – See SFI Fiber Sourcing Objective 11, which has requirements to avoid deforestation and controversial sources.
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification – See Controlled Wood Category 4, which calls for a risk assessment against sourcing wood harvested from areas being converted from forests and other wood ecosystems to plantations or non-forest uses.

Sustainable Forest Certification systems do not allow conversion within the scope of their certification.

  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative – See Performance Measure 1.3. Certified Organizations shall not have within the scope of their certification to this SFI Standard, forest lands that have been converted to non-forest land use.

Ensuring Forest Management is Climate Smart

In the U.S., assurances are in place to verify that our forests are sustainably managed and climate smart through a mosaic of overlapping and mutually reinforcing local, state, and federal environmental laws and regulations, state-approved forestry best management practices (BMPs), and third-party forest management and wood fiber sourcing certification programs.

NAFO’s Environmental Benefits Report

Did you know that private working forests are one of the most environmentally valuable natural resources in the U.S. but one of the least understood? To learn more about the positive impacts of sustainable forest management on carbon, water, and wildlife, check out this comprehensive report from the National Alliance of Forest Owners.