Healthy Forests

America’s natural resources like forests, grasslands, and oceans are natural climate solutions that pull carbon out of the air, reducing the impacts of climate change. We can manage all of these natural resources in urban and rural areas to maximize their ability to prevent climate change.

The good news is everybody loves trees and wants to help them grow. 90% of Americans are supportive of more trees to absorb carbon emissions. Forest health is the place to start fostering bipartisan collaboration on climate solutions. 

The best forest solutions have two parts: planting new trees (in cities and rural forests) while protecting existing trees. There are a few ways we can preserve American forests while maximizing their climate change-fighting impacts:

Increasing tree populations

Our existing forests are threatened by climate change, which has made them more vulnerable to droughts, wildfires, and pests. Western forests in particular are shrinking as a result, with up to 30% of California’s Sierra Nevada forestland lost to other types of vegetation in the past decade. And when forests die, they release the large amounts of carbon that they’ve been storing in the soil and trees into the air. To get more healthy trees in America, we need to plant new ones while protecting those that already exist (better forest management).

Incentivizing private landowners

Over half of America’s forestland is privately owned. Today, landowners have limited incentives to manage their forests in a way that benefits our climate. By providing financial incentives, we can encourage private landowners to preserve healthy forests and protect them from other uses.

 Fighting deforestation worldwide

The world is currently losing 25 million acres of forests per year to deforestation. Most deforestation is occurring in tropical countries like Brazil and Indonesia, often to grow crops and livestock to sell on the international market. We can stop importing products produced on land undergoing illegal deforestation.

 Using durable wood products

Trees from forests can be sustainably harvested in a way that keeps carbon locked up inside the wood products instead of being released into the air. Homes and buildings nationwide should be made with durable wood instead of concrete, steel, or plastic.

Our chapter works to support healthy forests by:

  • Contacting members of Congress to help them understand the importance of this issue and ask them to support legislation
  • Volunteering at local tree planting events
  • Planning to create a local pocket forest and sharing information about the benefits of pocket forests.  Learn about pocket forests here: