SEATTLE, Wash. - They not only look good and smell nice, but a new
study reports the national forests of Washington and Oregon are some of
the hardest-working in the United States, when it comes to keeping
global warming pollution out of the atmosphere. Of the top ten forests
in the nation for storing the most carbon dioxide per acre, three are
in Washington, one in Alaska, and the other six in Oregon.
The study of U.S. Forest Service data indicates the dense Northwest
forests are real powerhouses in using and storing CO2 compared to other
parts of the country. Study author Mike Anderson, a senior resource
analyst with The Wilderness Society
, says the reason is that the forests here are bigger and the trees are older.
"Looking across the whole country, these Pacific Northwest forests are
storing about twice as much as your average acre of forest land across
the United States."
Taken together, these ten forests store almost 10 billion metric tons
of carbon dioxide, which Anderson says is more than the emissions from
one year's use of fossil fuel in the United States. Washington trees
are doing their part, he adds.
"The Olympic National Forest was number two, the Gifford Pinchot in
Southwest Washington was number four; and the Mount Baker-Snowqualmie
in Northwest Washington was number seven out of the top ten."
The study will be shared with federal forest managers to underscore the
importance of keeping the Northwest forest ecosystem healthy and
intact, says Anderson.
The analysis, Top Ten Carbon Storing National Forests in America, is online at www.wilderness.org