Whether you spend time outside in your woods, or just enjoy the beauty of your trees and wildlife from your window, you likely love your woods and want to keep them healthy. Forests are always changing and adapting to new conditions. Some changes are as anticipated as the progression of green summer leaves to the bright red and gold of fall foliage, or annual return of brightly-colored migratory songbirds. Other changes in our woodlands are only visible when comparing differences across many years or decades.
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Responding to Climate Change
Do you wonder about the changing conditions in your woods? Many people are asking more questions about how a changing climate is effecting forests and what actions can be taken to ensure forests stay healthy no matter what the future holds.
There are two ways that you can help respond to climate change in your woods.
Adapt- First and foremost, you can consider the ways that climate change may affect your woods and work with a professional forester to ensure that the trees, wildlife, and other forest species can cope with changing conditions—these adaptation actions are outlined in Caring for your Woods - Adapting to Changing Conditions.
Mitigate - In addition to ensuring forests are healthy and productive over the long term, you can also consider additional actions that increase the ability of forests to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere as a means to reduce the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Learn more in Caring for your Woods - Managing for Forest Carbon
Additional Resources for Responding to Climate Change
For large landowners there are opportunities to receive money for the carbon you grow and store in trees, called carbon offsets or carbon credits. Companies buy carbon offsets to reduce their contribution to global warming: by paying another party to reduce carbon from a different source, companies “offset” carbon emissions from their own operations. This exchange lets companies count the carbon they’re paying to keep out of the atmosphere against their own emissions. Due to the complexity of enrolling in a carbon offset program, it makes the most financial sense for acreage greater than 3,000 acres, which may be one ownership or an aggregate of multiple ownerships. In Massachusetts these larger ownership tend to be municipal lands but any ownership is eligible. Forest Carbon Market Solutions - a Guide for Municipalities, helps a landowner understand the benefits and trade offs of the carbon market, defines what makes a successful project, provides a sense of expectations and risk, and gives a list of next steps.
Additional Resources for Carbon Markets
Annual Town Forest Conference: A focus on climate
Each year DCR works with a municipality to bring focus and attention to the community owned forests and all the benefits they provide. Due to COVID, in 2021 a virtual conference was held which was open to all. You may listen to the conference using the links below.
Topic: Bird Habitat & Climate Adaptation in Your Community (5/26/21)
Topic: The Role of Your Community Forest in Mitigating Climate Change (6/2/21)