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Statewide Efforts:

Protecting Washington's Legacy Forests

Our Current Policy Initiatives

At the Center for Responsible Forestry, we are actively engaged in statewide efforts to conserve the legacy forests of Western Washington. Through collaborative partnerships and advocacy, we strive to ensure the implementation of effective policies that safeguard these invaluable natural resources. Our primary focus is on the following key areas:



Creating a Mature Forest Policy

The Sustainable Harvest Calculation (SHC) is a critical process undertaken by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to determine timber harvest levels for the next decade. We are working closely with diverse groups across the state to advocate for a mature forest policy within the SHC framework. Our goal is to expand the definition of "old growth" conservation, considering not only the age and ecology of the forests but also their ecological functions and features. By protecting mature legacy forests, we can enhance resilience to climate change and ensure the best outcomes for forest ecosystems. 


The next SHC should be one that sequesters and stores the greatest amounts of carbon in order to be consistent with WA State's 2050 climate targets.


In the meantime, BNR should halt logging all mature, structurally complex legacy forests. The Mature and Old Growth Forest Inventory, just published by the USDA, should serve as a model for BNR's directive to DNR to carry out a mature forest inventory. To accurately determine where mature forests still exist and how much is remaining, this inventory should use both GIS modeling and field data collection.


Supporting the Climate Commitment Act

We actively support the Climate Commitment Act, recognizing the importance of investments in Washington's older forests for various goals, including carbon sequestration, forest health, protection of working lands, and resilience to climate change impacts such as wildfires, floods, water shortage, and biodiversity loss. The Act's Natural Climate Solutions Account facilitates investment in climate change mitigation and resilience, prioritizing the preservation of our forests' carbon sequestration and storage benefits. We advocate for the use of these funds to conserve legacy forests, buy plantation replacement land, and reduce the economic impact for communities dependent on timber industry revenue. 


Washington's forests excel at carbon storage and sequestration, making them indispensable in mitigating climate change impacts. In alignment with the Climate Commitment Act, we advocate for the removal of legacy forests from DNR’s planned timber sales. If the planned clear-cutting of older forests proceeds as scheduled, it would result in the emission of over 31 million metric tons of CO2 during harvest and manufacturing alone. This amounts to the emissions from 1.5 years of fuel use for the entire state. Even with accounting for carbon in harvested wood products and assumed forest regrowth, excess emissions will persist in the atmosphere for over a century. Preserving these carbon-dense forests is a crucial step towards meeting our carbon reduction goals.

Image by Evgeni Evgeniev

Write to the WA Board of Natural Resources and Support this Effort!

 We need to ensure that the Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz, puts an end to logging the last remaining mature forests in western Washington.

Send a letter to the Commissioner of Public Lands and the Board of Natural Resources asking them to enact a moratorium on logging mature forests until a mature forest policy is adopted.

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