Maine Forests: A Natural Climate Solution

Some climate solutions are simpler than we imagine. For example, keeping forests as forests! Last month, we welcomed Karin Tilberg, President and CEO of the Forest Society of Maine, to learn about the powerful role of Maine’s forests in mitigating climate change.

Trees sequester carbon dioxide, storing carbon in their wood and in the forest soil. The term ‘carbon sequestration’ refers to the process of taking up carbon and storing it — in this case, by trees. This prevents carbon gasses from moving up into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

Photo credit: Jake Metzler

A key aspect in Maine achieving carbon neutrality by 2045? Maintaining our forests! Currently, Maine loses 10,000 acres of natural lands every year. That number is expected to increase as Maine becomes increasingly attractive in a warming world. Data on real estate transactions shows that development pressure around the edges of forested landscapes and in gateway communities to the North Woods is growing.

Maine Won’t Wait, the state’s climate action plan, aspires to increase the amount of conserved land in the state to 30% by 2030 (referred to as 30 by 30). In 2022, Maine was at 22%. Around 50,000 acres were conserved annually in 2021 and 2022, but we need to accelerate the rate of conservation to achieve 30% by 2030.

Efforts are underway to develop programs to incentivize timber management practices that increase carbon storage, especially by small woodlot owners. Maine has a lot of small woodlot owners, especially in the southern half of the state. The goal is to prevent conversion of forestland to other uses by making forest management for carbon sequestration accessible and cost-effective.

To learn more about carbon sequestration, carbon off-set programs, and more, we encourage you to watch the recorded webinar ‘Maine Forests: A Natural Climate Solution’ with Karin Tilberg.

For more information about carbon sequestration, see the Maine Forest Carbon Task Force Report and Healthy Forests for our Future.

The Forest Society of Maine (FSM) is a statewide land trust established in 1984 to conserve Maine’s forestlands to sustain the economic, ecological, cultural and recreational values of the Maine Woods. It has conserved over one million acres of forestland — most located in the uniquely intact forested landscape of Maine’s North Woods. Conservation easements are FSM’s primary conservation tool.

This webinar was part of the monthly CREA speaker series.

Karin Tilberg President/CEO of The Forest Society of Maine (Photo Credit: The Forest Society of Maine)