A new study documents that Northwest forests soak up significant amounts of greenhouse gases when left unharvested.
The findings could eventually generate revenue for Oregon forest owners if greenhouse gas regulations ever pass into law.
Researchers from the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon State University show for the first time just how much carbon unharvested Northwest forests can trap. These forests now constitute a carbon "sink" for the first time in decades.
The controversial 1993 Northwest Forest Plan, aimed at preserving the endangered northern spotted owl, slashed timber production by 80 percent in northern California, and western Oregon and Washington. While the upshot of the plan remains hotly debated, an unanticipated side effect isn't: Powerful forest "sinks" store the carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion for heat, transportation and power generation.
Read more at Oregon Live.