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In April 2009 The Wilderness Society released a report “Wood Products and Carbon Storage: Can Increased Production Help Solve the Climate Crisis?”1 The report begins by noting that much attention has been focused on wood products and wood fuels to store carbon and reduce fossil emissions. Taken to its extreme, the report states, “this approach suggests that cutting down forests is the best preemptive move to prevent carbon losses due to fires or insect infestations.” The report concludes that “an increased use of wood fuels and lumber will have very little effect on climate change.” Thirty-nine pages of discussion and analysis, interwoven with Wilderness Society forest policy recommendations focused on preserving old growth and/or public forests, support this conclusion. 

Unfortunately, what is promoted as a scientific evaluation of the carbon storage/wood products issue is deeply flawed. Whether intended or not, the net effect is a muddying of the waters on the issue of carbon storage and wood products under the guise of science.

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