US Forest Land is a Critical Component of US Climate Change Mitigation Strategies

By Anne McDarris and Matt Fleck
In Focus
October 19, 2023
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Forests, which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in growing vegetation and soils, are key players in the US strategy for carbon dioxide removal and achieving net-zero emissions by midcentury. Will forests be enough? David N. Wear, director of RFF’s Land Use, Forestry, and Agriculture Program and coauthor of a new working paper about carbon storage in US forests, shares his thoughts. [Report excerpt: We show that avoided deforestation provides up to twice as much CDR benefit as increased afforestation. The disparities in the CDR effects of afforestation and deforestation indicate that no-net-loss policies could mitigate some CDR losses but would likely lead to overall declines in CDR for our 45-year time horizon. Over a longer period, afforestation could offset more of the losses from deforestation but on a timeframe inconsistent with most climate change policy efforts.]

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