California forests hold one answer to climate change - Los Angeles Times
The state is a leader in setting up a program to offset heat-trapping emissions by investing in woodlands.
By Margot Roosevelt
4:55 PM PDT, May 31, 2009
Reporting from Arcata, Calif. -- Silvery light flickers through the Redwood canopy of the Van Eck forest down to a fragrant carpet of needles and thimbleberry brush. A brook splashes along polished stones, through thickets of ferns.
How lush. How lovely. How lucrative.
This 2,200-acre spread in Humboldt County does well by doing good. For the last four years, Van Eck's foresters restricted logging, allowing trees to do what trees do: absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The conservation foundation that oversees the forest then calculated that carbon bonus and sold it for $2 million to individuals and companies trying to offset some 185,000 metric tons of their greenhouse gas emissions.
'Forests can be managed like a long-term carbon bank,' said Laurie Wayburn, president of the Pacific Forest Trust, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that oversees Van Eck. Selling offsets, she said, is like 'writing checks on the account.'