Foresters gather to tackle climate change

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(Host) About 100 foresters from around the Northeast are gathering in Fairlee this week to tackle global climate change.


As VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, foresters view global warming as both an opportunity and a challenge.


(Sneyd) The warming of the earth could dramatically change the face of Northeast forests.


Vermont’s signature sugar maples could begin to decline gradually crowded out by oaks and other species more common in the south.


That’s the challenge for owners of timber stands and the foresters and loggers who manage them.


But the Forest Guild also sees great promise in managing the Great North Woods for the emerging carbon trading markets.


What they hope to do is offer credits for sale to industries that have a pollution problem. In return they would keep carbon-absorbing forests uncut for additional years.


The Guild is an organization of foresters and land stewards dedicated to finding new, sustainable ways of managing timber.


Bob Perschel is the group’s Northeast director.


(Perschel1) "So it’s possible that by 2009 there will be carbon offsets and credits that landowners can get for holding on to their trees for another five years. It hasn’t been established yet in the process which forestry practices will be eligible for the money. But that’s something we’re going to talk about at this meeting because the people that are involved in setting those protocols for the credits need to hear from foresters on what we can accomplish on the ground."

(Sneyd) Those payments might give landowners the economic flexibility leave their trees standing longer.


Perschel says hardwoods, for example, might be left growing for 100 years.


(Perschel) "We’ve been doing that as common practice to get higher quality forest products. The research also shows that when you do that you’re keeping more carbon in the forests for a longer period of time. And that will help the carbon cycle and help to stem some of the global warming problems that we’re seeing."


(Sneyd) Lower quality trees destined for pulp that might typically grow for 30 years could be left growing for another five years.


For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.



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