Breathe Deep The Forest Primeval

Gambel Oak in the Gila Wilderness

I love forests. Probably because I grew up between a State Park and a Wildlife Preserve. I spent much of my childhood and teen years exploring the forest around my home. I understand the value of a forest is much greater than the wild game it supports and the board-feet of lumber it can produce. But, it's also reassuring when scientists discover another benefit of old-growth trees ... CO2 capture.

The Journal Nature states that 'Until recently, it was assumed that very old forests no longer absorbed carbon.' '...old-growth forests are, in general, still absorbing carbon. Primary boreal and temperate forests, which make up 15% of global forests, sequester about 1.3 gigatonnes of carbon a year, give or take half a gigatonne.'

So, not only do old-growth forests preserve biodiversity and wildlife habitat, undiscovered plant and animal species, and possible future medicines they are actively sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. So, we now have even one more reason to preserve and maintain the forests around us. Of course, maintaining old and second-growth forests is no small task. The links below detail some of the principles and techniques for preserving our forests in the South Western United States.

We should also keep our forests, wilderness and public lands in mind when it comes time to vote. While some of our elected officials are pro-conservation, many are not. League of Conservation Voters informs the public about how Congress voted on the most important environmental legislation of the past session through the National Environmental Scorecard and Presidential Report Card. I suggest checking the environmental scorecards for your state and national political candidates. Vote to protect the environment and you can breathe a little easier.

More Info:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Evangeline A Tale of Acadie

Nature (article) - Old forests capture plenty of carbon

Nature (abstract) - Old-growth forests as global carbon sinks

GORP - Top 10 Ancient Forests of the United States

Wikipedia - Old Growth Forest

US Forest Service - New Mexico Forest Restoration Principles

Ecology & Society - Conservation and Restoration of Old Growth in Frequent-fire Forests of the American West

League of Conservation Voters

Conservation Voters New Mexico