Washingtonians love the outdoors, and why wouldn’t we? We have ocean access, mountains for skiing and hiking, abundant fishing in our streams and rivers, and 52% of our state is forested. In fact, we are home to the largest temperate rain forest zone in the world, stretching from Kodiak Island in Alaska to northern California.
Forests aren’t only for nature lovers, though. Globally they are home to 80% of terrestrial biodiversity and are nature’s way of sequestering carbon. According to the United Nations Climate Summit’s 2014 New York Declaration on Forests, “Forests represent one of the largest, most cost-effective climate solutions available today.”
The U.S. Forest Service ranks Washington state as having the 3rd most carbon storage in its forests. We want to protect that rank. Through smart public policies and science-based forest management practices, we will keep our forests robust. For example, renewable biomass energy is made from slash leftovers of timber harvesting. This biomass is then used to power sawmills and pulp and paper mills. The Washington Forest Protection Association states that this process has been around for more than a century, but now due to technological advances, forest product companies are able to modernize their efforts and increase efficiency. This is only one of the many ways technology is advancing our lumber practices.
Our forests help protect us from the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. We are protecting them by implementing sustainable forestry practices for years to come.