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Report outlines state forests' role in climate mitigation


Report lays out need for ecosystem markets, carbon sinks


By MITCH LIES


Capital Press


BROOKINGS, Ore. -- To address climate change, Oregon should seek no net loss of forests by 2050 and a net gain of carbon storage, according to a report from a forestry subcommittee of the Oregon Global Warming Commission.


To achieve that, the state should invest in inducements for private and public landowners to participate in ecosystem markets. And it should establish a carbon inventory for Oregon forests.


The plan also calls for pursuing reforestation and investing in research to understand the impacts of climate change on forest carbon storage.


"Oregon forests are currently a (carbon) sink, and conservation of those forests is crucial to greenhouse gas reductions," said Andrew Yost, a state Department of Forestry ecologist.


The plan, unveiled at a recent Oregon Board of Forestry meeting, is being developed to help the state meet its 2020 greenhouse gas goals.


Recommendations in the plan could guide private sector investments, state spending on climate change and university research, Yost said.


The report acknowledges the limitation inherent in a state plan when only 3 percent of Oregon's forests are in state ownership.


"Policies must be developed collaboratively, and executed across jurisdictional lines when ecosystems and carbon outcomes stretch across those lines," according to the report.


It acknowledges that increases in average temperatures could result in uncertainties because of changes in geographic distribution of tree species and increases in wildfires.


The Oregon Board of Forestry endorsed the report with a caveat that achieving some parts of the plan could face funding and manpower limitations.


The report will be part of recommendations considered by the Global Warming Commission for inclusion in a report to incoming Gov. John Kitzhaber, the 2011 Legislature, state agencies and Oregon's congressional delegation.



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