Landowners cash in on timber they don’t cut

16 February 2014

Two Maine groups are being paid to manage their forests for carbon dioxide reduction that will offset pollution by industry.

The Maine woods have always seemed to be worth more dead than alive.

Cut a tree down and you can turn it into something that’s worth money – lumber, paper, furniture or toothpicks.

Leave a tree standing and some believe all you’ve got is shade.

But photosynthesis and efforts to curb global climate change are combining to enhance the value of a living, growing forest.

Polluters are paying two conservation organizations to manage forestlands the groups own in Maine in a way that increases the amount of carbon dioxide the trees remove from the atmosphere. The money the Downeast Lakes Land Trust and the Appalachian Mountain Club earn by selling so-called “carbon offsets” will be spent on managing forests they already own and buying additional forestland.

Some trees can still be harvested on these forests for products such as pulp, paper and timber. But deals require that ultimately, there will be more trees left standing than in the past.

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