Science is beginning to confirm what many of us have long suspected: that older forests are better at sequestering carbon than younger ones, contrary to what some foresters would have us believe. My father has been wondering lately whether our own few hundred acres of forest are enough to offset the carbon we produce as a family. If you know my dad, you won’t be surprised to hear he’s got it all more or less figured out.
We are coming under intense pressure here in the Appalachians to clear every ridgetop forest for wind turbines, but I suspect that we can make the biggest difference simply by leaving the forests the hell alone. Certainly the best thing we could do for the forests themselves would be to end all extractive uses and employ foresters and loggers to conduct taxonomic surveys and ecological monitoring instead. Considering how much we still don’t know about Appalachian biodiversity, and how much we stand to lose as a result of global climate change, those are the kind of “green jobs” most desperately needed right now.