Forest biomass map

That little patch of woods in your neighborhood might be more important than you think in the fight against climate change.

Holland: “The average forest in the U.S. sequesters at least two to two-and-a-half tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per acre per year. So if we’re promoting forests, we’re promoting clean air, and we’re mitigating the effects of climate change.”

If we're promoting forests, we're promoting clean air, and mitigating effects of #climatechange. Click To Tweet

That’s Kyle Holland of Ecopartners, a group that helps landowners protect their forests while earning money.

More than half the forest land in the U.S. is privately owned, and much of it is in parcels of less than 1,000 acres. Holland says when families need money, they often sell off sections of forest. That reduces wildlife habitat, and harms the forest’s ability to slow climate change.

So to give landowners across the country financial support to hold on to their land, Ecopartners helps them participate in California’s carbon market.

Smartphone and measurement kit

Landowners receive specially-modified smartphones that can be used to measure their forest and take pictures. Ecopartners collects the information and estimates the amount of carbon stored in the forest. Then the landowner can sell or trade the carbon for cash credits.

This added income helps landowners keep and sustainably manage their land – which also helps slow climate change.

Reporting credit: Lauren Smith/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Top image graphic: The National Biomass and Carbon Dataset (NBCD) is the largest high-resolution map of forest biomass yet assembled. Scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center created the map by combining satellite data with precise ground-based measurements. (Map by Woods Hole Research Center.)
Photo: Smartphone and measurement kit used to collect data (courtesy of Ecopartners).

Topics: Energy, Jobs & Economy