SOURCE: Great Lakes Forest Alliance, Inc.

June 24, 2008 09:15 ET

New Policy Advocates for Sustainable Forest Management as a Key to Climate Change Mitigation

MADISON, WI--(Marketwire - June 24, 2008) - Sequestration of carbon is one of several environmental and societal values derived from sustainably managed forests, according to the Great Lakes Forest Alliance, Inc. The organization has just released a Carbon Policy Statement that outlines the relationships between forests, carbon management and climate change, and recommends focus areas for policy development, research and public education.

Forests sequester carbon as they grow and convert atmospheric carbon dioxide to carbon in wood and soil organic matter. Carbon can be sequestered in both standing trees and long-lasting wood products.

In its Carbon Policy Statement, the Great Lakes Forest Alliance supports continued sustainable management of public and private forests as a means to achieve environmental benefits, including those related to climate change mitigation derived from the sequestration of atmospheric carbon.

The organization's Carbon Policy Statement also encourages the development of opportunities for landowners to monetize or trade ecosystem services in a manner that promotes sustainable forest management. Ecosystem services such as carbon credits for climate change mitigation and watershed maintenance are increasingly being assigned a marketplace value.

"We adopted this Carbon Policy Statement in order to formalize our support for initiatives that enhance forests and forest-based industries in the Great Lakes Region," said Dr. Daniel E. Keathley, chair of the Great Lakes Forest Alliance. "These industries are facing large-scale changes. The health and productivity of our forests is essential to meeting the broad range of values expected by society."

In addition to sequestration of carbon, other values derived from sustainably managed forests include water quality, wildlife habitat, forest products and recreational opportunities, according to Keathley.

The complete Carbon Policy Statement can be viewed on the organization's Web site, at www.GreatForests.org/policy.pdf.

The Great Lakes Forest Alliance, Inc. is a non-profit organization established to foster cooperative efforts that enhance management and sustainable use of forest lands in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ontario. The organization represents a broad range of forest interests, including the academic community, conservation groups, business and industry, private landowners, and local, state and county governments. The Governors of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin chartered its predecessor, the Lake States Forestry Alliance, in 1987. Ontario joined the organization in 1997, creating the Great Lakes Forest Alliance, Inc.