Sustainable forests and climate change

To the editor:

New Hampshire’s Sen. Kelly Ayotte is a co-sponsor of a key amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act that would make it possible for wood harvested from sustainably managed forests to be considered by states as they prepare to meet the requirements of the national Clean Power Plan.

Wood for energy is a vital part of the New Hampshire forest industry.

Senator Ayotte’s amendment has received strong bipartisan support, including that of New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. The bill’s other co-sponsors include Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Democrats of Minnesota, and Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, and Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine. The amendment recently passed unanimously by voice vote in the U.S. Senate.

Climate science has consistently and clearly documented the carbon benefits of utilizing forest biomass from forests that are managed sustainably as a fuel for energy. New Hampshire is the second-most forested state in the country, with 84 percent of our state covered by forests.

A 2013 study, “The Economic Importance of New Hampshire’s Forest-Based Economy,” sponsored by the North East State Foresters Association, found that New Hampshire annually grows more than 200 million cubic feet of wood in its forests and annually harvests less than 140 million cubic feet. By growing more than we cut on an annual basis, New Hampshire is sustaining the resource for current and future use. Individual landowners who manage their forests sustainably should be recognized as contributors to the larger goal of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Will Abbott, Society for the Protection of NH Forests

Jamison French, Northland Forest Products

Peter Stein, Lyme Timber Company

Categories: Letters to the Editor