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

Outcome 3

Healthy and Resilient Forests

Resilience refers to how well forests respond to stress and natural disturbances such as fire, insects, and disease. Resilience affects forest carbon storage. A 2021 study found that forests recently impacted by insect disturbance sequestered 69% less carbon on average than forests with no disturbance (Quirion et al 2021). In addition, this study found insect and disease disturbances are reducing the average annual rate of above- and below- ground carbon sequestration in live trees in the contiguous US by 12.83 million metric tons of carbon per year (Quirion et al 2021).

How do we know this is true?

The US Forest Service produces FIA State Fact Sheets that report on annual mortality: Tools and Data – Forest Inventory and Analysis National Program (via

Ensuring healthy and resilient forests:
  • Sustainable Forest Certification systems require attention to forest health and resilience through numerous requirements that limit invasive species, maintain ecological function, and provide for overall forest health.
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) – Performance Measure 2.4. Certified Organizations shall manage to protect forests from damaging agents, such as environmentally or economically undesirable levels of wildfire, pests, diseases, and invasive species, to maintain and improve long-term forest health, productivity, and economic viability. 

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.