Voters Value Forests

Carbon credit swap

by Allan Britnell

Most of us have known for years that trees are good for the environment, particularly because of their ability to sequester greenhouse gases spewed by cars and the other conveniences of our lives. Yet, until recently, no one knew precisely just how much carbon forests could store. But a detailed analysis published in the August 19, 2011, issue of the journal Science has cleared the air on how significant a factor forest-carbon capture is.

A fascinating article from the National Association of State Foresters who commissioned  a nationwide survey of voters to assess key public perceptions and values related to forests. How would Canadian voters respond to a similar poll, not very differently I would imagine. State Foresters Public-Poll

Here is an excerpt from the article; visit the above link for the full story.

The new results reveal a striking consensus among Americans:

  • Voters strongly value the nation’s forests, especially as sources of clean air and water.
  • Voters have an increased appreciation for the economic benefits provided by forests – such as good-paying jobs and essential products – than they were in previous years.
  • Voters also recognize a variety of serious threats facing America’s forests, like wildfires and harmful insects and diseases.

Given these factors, seven out of ten voters support maintaining or increasing efforts to protect forests and trees in their state.Among the key specific findings of the poll are the following:

  • Voters continue to value the nation’s forests highly, particularly as sources of clean air and water and places for wildlife to live. The survey found most voters are personally familiar with the nation’s forests: two-thirds of voters (67%) say they live within ten miles of a forest or wooded area. Voters also report engaging in various recreational activities that may bring them to forests. These include: viewing wildlife (71% of voters say they do this “frequently” or “occasionally”), hiking on outdoor trails (48%), fishing (43%), overnight camping (38%), hunting (22%), using off-road vehicles (16%), snow-shoeing or cross-country-skiing (15%), and mountain biking (14%).

Taking all of this into account, it should be no surprise that voters value the many benefits forests provide. As shown in Figure 1, 92 percent of voters surveyed believe that helping to keep the air clean is at least a “very” important benefit of forests, including 58 percent who believe it is “extremely” important. A nearly identical 91% of voters assign similar importance to forests’ role in filtering water to keep it clean. Solid majorities of voters found other benefits of forests to be “very important” as well, including providing a place for wildlife to live (86%), providing a source of good-paying jobs (73%), supplying products like wood and paper (73%), providing a place for recreation (71%), and reducing global warming (60%).

(Note: Attention Tree photo from-

Why I’m psyched about Awesome Foundation Seattle- visit this site for an artist’s tribute to trees.