Oregonians are starting to feel real impacts of climate change here at home. Dried up riverbeds, warming oceans, declining crustaceans, hotter summers, drought, and decreasing snow pack have unfortunately become a new normal. While many of the solutions to curbing climate change are global in scale and complex in nature, Oregon has a surprisingly significant role to play.
While serving as the lungs of our planet, providing oxygen and storing carbon pollution, our forests are also hard at work protecting us from other climate change impacts. Keeping our rivers cold and clean protecting us from drought, providing reliable sources of clean drinking water, and supporting high quality wildlife habitat ensures our ecosystems remain intact.
The Carbon Connection
Many issues must be addressed in the climate change conversation across the country and planet such as energy, transportation and agriculture. Oregon is home to 6 of the top 10 carbon capturing forests in the United States, and one of the best things that Oregonians can do here at home to slow the impacts of climate change is to simply protect our backyard forests.
The mature forests in this part of Oregon are one of our top tools in the fight against climate change. These forests not only provide oxygen, they capture incredible amounts of carbon and can store it for centuries. In fact, 3 of the top 10 carbon capturing forests in the United States overlap the proposed Crater Lake Wilderness, including the Rogue, the Umpqua and Willamette National Forests.
Unfortunately, Oregon has already lost 500,000 acres to deforestation since 2000. While much of that is on state or private timber industry land, that makes our remaining publicly owned national forests work that much harder for us.
It is time to provide a critical buffer as humans and wildlife adjust to a changing climate and protect our incredible carbon capturing forests for our future generations of Oregonians. The Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal aims to do just that.