Those who manage our federal forests recently received a disappointing report card from the Federal Forest Carbon Coalition (FFCC). The FFCC awarded failing grades to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and other management agencies because they have not adopted polices, regulations, and practices designed to increase carbon stores and lessen the loss of carbon in our nation’s forests.
The FFCC’s full report calls on the Obama Administration to act more quickly to modernize the agencies’ approach to carbon management to avoid adding thousands of tons of carbon to the atmosphere and further contributing to greenhouse gases exacerbating climate change.
The report also includes a checklist for forest managers to help determine if they are addressing all of the issues required to conserve and increase forest carbon.
The FFCC is a national coalition of more than 65 organizations that encourages federal forest management agencies to manage forests in ways that protect the Earth’s climate. The coalition works closely with forest-carbon scientists and recognizes there are differing areas of consensus on the science of forest carbon management. Where scientific consensus is lacking, the FFCC believes a precautionary approach is essential to prevent doing harm. This is the position taken in the recently issued report card.
Two members of the coalition’s steering committee include representatives from Great Old Broads for Wilderness: Executive Director Shelley Silbert and Broadband Circuit Rider Shelley Spalding, the latter also representing Washington’s Olympic Forest Coalition (OFCO). Spalding is a fish biologist retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service (FWS). She has a strong background in climate change issues, having given many presentations on climate change, as well as organizing an American Fisheries Society symposium session on bull trout and climate change.
“Climate change, as it relates to public lands, has become a priority for Broads. I am coaching our Broadband (chapter) leaders to use the FFCC checklist when they are working with agencies on Forest Management Plan revisions and will present these ideas at our upcoming Broadband leader wilderness advocacy training,” said Spalding.
The full FFCC report and checklist are available at: http://www.forestcc.org/report-card.