Coalition calls for deep reforms of practices, ownership, subsidies and incentives. READ THE REPORT
America’s forests and forest dependent communities need help. Despite signing the Glasglow Leaders Declaration to end deforestation and forest degradation by 2030, the Biden Administration, Congress, governors and statehouses throughout the US have failed to intervene to halt Big Timber’s assaults on the few carbon rich, biodiverse forests that remain. Corporate logging practices like replacing real forests with monoculture tree farms, clearcutting, spraying of toxic chemicals and converting forestlands to urban sprawl have accelerated. Because of these stressors, only 28% of US forestlands exist in their natural state of ecological integrity. According to Global Forest Watch, the US has a higher rate of tree cover loss (17% since 2000) than Brazil (13%). This is all bad news for climate, biodiversity, and the rural economy.
Progressive leaders have been largely absent from the struggles of rural, forest dependent communities in the Southeast, Pacific Northwest, and other places where economic diversification is badly needed. This vacuum has allowed pro-timber politicians to jump on the bandwagon of Big Timber’s lies and deceptions and promote false climate solutions and economic narratives that keep these communities locked into endless cycles of poverty, social pathologies, and environmental degradation. The ‘resource curse’ associated with overinvestment in extractive industries is plainly evident in America’s impoverished timber towns. Current practices impose spillover costs on workers, families, and communities, keeping them poor and disaffected. Continuation of current practices will make things worse.
It is not surprising at all that these towns provided fertile recruiting grounds for right wing extremists who organized the January 6th insurrection.
To help make the case to Congress and the Biden Administration, The Forest Carbon Coalition has updated and republished Repairing America’s Tattered Forests – Maximizing natural carbon removal while revitalizing our forgotten rural areas. The report is a portfolio of policy interventions that are long overdue, and badly needed now as the climate crisis spirals out of control and the plight of frontline forest communities worsens.
The policy interventions are grouped into six strategic goals, that include:
- Ending deforestation and forest degradation, for example, by establishing an interconnected network of forest carbon and biodiversity reserves on public lands and adopting a no-net-loss policy for forests and farmland threatened by development.
- Diversify and revitalize forest dependent communities and remedy environmental injustices by redirecting logging subsidies and reducing frontline community risks associated with wildfires, heat waves, water shortages and floods – all made worse by industrial scale clearcutting.
- Reduce forest ownership by short-sighted investors by closing tax loopholes and placing restrictions on ownership by Wall Street and foreign corporations.
- Reduce wasteful consumption of wood and paper products by, for example halting federal investments in new paper, biomass, or mass timber facilities and scaling up markets for less carbon intensive substitutes like bamboo, hemp, and carbon negative concrete.
- Reduce the climate impacts of industrial logging activities by including this sector in annual GHG emissions inventories and using regulatory and market-based mechanisms to accelerate the transition to climate smart alternatives.
- Fight Big Timber’s greenwashing and disinformation by forcing logging corporations to disclose climate risks to investors and by cracking down on false claims about the climate and economic benefits of industrial wood relative to non-wood substitutes.
The Forest Carbon Coalition – 100 members strong from communities across the US – invites you to join with us to explore how to implement as many of these interventions as possible as quickly as possible to get us on track to meet the Glasgow Leaders Declaration while bolstering natural carbon removal and bringing economic growth and prosperity to counties, cities, and towns who are missing out on the socioeconomic benefits of progressive policies.