Forests: friend or foe?

A dilemma rises over the pros and cons of carbon storage in Pacific Northwest forests.

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Two studies show that local forests can help battle global warming by absorbing carbon released by burning fossil fuels. But clearing them for lumber and wildfire prevention also creates a problem.

“So forests could be a significant part of the solution or could make the problem worse,” said Steve Running, professor of ecology at the University of Montana, who did not take part in either study. “I think this is going to be a very interesting challenge for forest ecosystem management over the next few decades, to see if we can develop a plan of walking the tightrope like this,” he said.

Robert Doudrick, Forest Service staff director for research and development, said the two studies offered valuable information to be considered as the Forest Service tries to keep its options open in the face of an uncertain future over climate and energy.

Read the full story at The Seattle Times.