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Climate Change - Carbon Storage in Forests
Carbon Storage
Photo of trees in Oregon's Douglas County
Oregon’s forests are uniquely suited to be an asset as the state develops solutions to combat the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
Trees and forests help address these changes by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converting it during photosynthesis to carbon, which is then ‘stored’ in the form of wood and vegetation, a process known as "carbon sequestration."
Planting of new forestlands and active management of forestlands turn water, sunlight and atmospheric carbon dioxide into solid carbon and oxygen. As trees grow they continue to store significant amounts of carbon (about 25 percent of a live Douglas fir's weight, for example) throughout the tree’s lifespan.
"Keeping forestland in forest uses" (pdf) and controlling the number of destructive large acreage forest fires are two crucial issues for Oregon's future related to capturing and storing atmospheric carbon. The role of forests in maintaining the health of the planet has been recognized by including the 'maintenance of forest contribution to global carbon cycles' as one of seven criteria for sustainable forest health in a world-wide accord known as the Montreal Process.
The Oregon Department of Forestry is committed to assisting Oregon with the reduction of atmospheric carbon and reducing the impact of greenhouse gasses on global climate change.
Early Efforts - Forest Carbon Offsets

Forest Carbon Stakeholders Workgroup
The Oregon Forest Carbon Stakeholders Workgroup was convened in January 2008 to develop recommendations on the role of forests in the carbon cap-and-trade market systems currently being explored by the Western Climate Initiative.
The work group met monthly until September 2008 and membership included regional forestry associations from Oregon, Washington, and California, forest products producers, forest landowners, and conservation groups. Academics, carbon buyers, carbon aggregators, and government officials from across the nation have also participated in meetings.
Support for the working group is provided by the Governor's Office and the Oregon Department of Forestry. Oregon State University, Oregon Forest Resources Institute and other academic and non-governmental institutions investigating solutions to climate change have contributed to the deliberations of the workgroup.

Digital Audio
Climate Change Panel Discussion - April 23, 2010
A panel of climate change experts present information about climate change and the role of Oregon's forests in managing climate change to the Oregon Board of Forestry.
  • Angus Duncan, chair, Oregon Global Warming Commission
  • Philip Mote, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute
  • Matt Donegan, Forest Capital Partners
  • Andrew Yost, forest ecologist, Oregon Department of Forestry
Mp3 file of panel discussion - [ 38 Mb file, 1 hour 23 minutes]

Links and Resources
State of Oregon's Climate Change Portal 
Western Climate Initiative
Oregon Global Warming Commission
Conversion Factors for Carbon Dioxide Emission Offsets
Informational Links
Many sustainable forestry practices can increase the ability of a forest to store carbon. Interested landowners may contact ODF to determine the marketable amount and potential value of forestry carbon offsets attributed to their lands.