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Pinchot focus areas:

Climate & Energy
Water
Forests
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Policy
Home > Climate and Energy >

National priorities for mitigating climate change and increasing energy security have brought renewed attention to the role forests can play, as a source of low-carbon renewable energy, and in continuing to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through forest growth and store it away for the long term. With careful planning and an appropriate framework of federal and state policies, markets for carbon and renewable energy can strengthen sustainable forest management and forestland conservation.

Below you will find information about the Pinchot Institute's Climate and Energy programs.

Fly fisherman on the South Fork of the Holston River
Adapting to a Changing Climate: Risks & Opportunities for the Upper Delaware River Region
In 2012, the Model Forest Policy Program (MFPP), the Cumberland River Compact, Headwaters Economics, the Common Waters Partnership and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation came together to create a climate adaptation plan for the communities of the Upper Delaware River Region.
Smoke from the Deep Harbor Fire levels off at sunset on the Wenatchee National Forest WA Eli Lehmann
Forest conservation in the Anthropocene
There is increasing scientific acceptance that we have entered a new “Anthropocene Epoch” wherein human influence, especially in climate and global population, is altering the evolution of virtually every ecosystem on the planet. Representing one-quarter of terrestrial ecosystems, but containing an estimated two-thirds of carbon in living terrestrial organisms, and nearly three-quarters of terrestrial species, our forests face growing risk in the Anthropocene.
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The Forest Health-Human Health Initiative
Rates of health care coverage are low across much of rural America and what coverage many landowners do have often proves to be inadequate over the long-term. What does this mean for the 45% of private forest land in America that is owned by people 65 years of age or older? These aging landowners and their children face difficult realities regarding the costs of major medical expenses like long-term care. In fact, medical care expenses are routinely cited by landowners as the single greatest financial concern that would cause them to accelerate a timber harvest or sell their land. The Forest Health-Human Health Initiative seeks to address this root concern by directly connecting innovative health coverage options with new markets for forest carbon.
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Marcellus Shale and Forests: Science and Standards
The Marcellus Shale is regarded as an important new source of domestic energy for the United States, but its development also carries significant potential for environmental impacts, especially on water quality. The Pinchot Institute convened a technical workshop that examined the adequacy of existing science to assess cumulative impacts from shale gas development, as well as the science basis for standards and regulations aimed at protecting environmental values during development. The Institute has also released a report on “best management practices” for minimizing impacts on water quality and biodiversity from shale gas drilling.
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Wood with plug
Bioenergy: Ensuring Forest Sustainability in the Development of Wood Bioenergy
Ambitious policy goals for biofuels and renewable electricity will significantly increase current levels of wood harvesting in the US. This two-year study by the Pinchot Institute examines methods for estimating sustainable biomass supplies, standards for sustainable harvesting of wood biomass, and bioenergy technologies that can maximize the renewable energy produced from available wood biomass supplies.
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Misty forest
Carbon Sequestration: Conserving Forests to Store More Carbon
The forest biome constitutes about one-third of the planet’s terrestrial ecosystems, but it represents more than two-thirds of all the carbon stored in living organisms. Currently, nearly a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions from human activities worldwide come from the destruction of forests through fire and deforestation, more than from all the cars in the world. In the U.S., forests sequester about 14% of our annual CO2 emissions from the atmosphere—but could be removing much more were it not for major carbon emissions from wildfires, forests killed by insects and disease, and forest land lost to development. Studies at the Pinchot Institute are identifying ways to reduce forest losses and increase the effectiveness of forests in capturing and storing carbon, through market-based incentives for private forest owners and through improved management of public forest lands such as the National Forests.


 

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