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Climate & Energy

Pinchot News

News Releases

Nov 19, 2018
Putting Out Fires
Last weekend, while giving honor to the heroes of WWI, our President took a moment to tell the residents of California who were fleeing burning landscapes and homes, that the federal government may decide not to help. He blamed poor forest management.
Aug 8, 2018
Institute Testifies at Oregon Joint Interim Committee on Carbon Reduction Hearing
On July 24th 2018 the Oregon Joint Interim Committee on Carbon Reduction held a hearing to consider sequestration and adaptation on working lands in developing new state carbon reduction legislation. Brian Kittler, Director of the Institute's Western Regional Office, testified on how the legislature should approach Oregon's forestland in this new legislation. Conclusions from the Institute's testimony are below; a PDF of the full written testimony can be downloaded here. For information on the committee or to view other testimony from the hearing visit the Joint Interim Committee on Carbon Reduction's website.

Summary: Testimony to the Joint Committee on Carbon Policy of the Oregon Legislature
July 24, 2018

Climate change will impact Oregon’s forests in several ways. A range of impacts will occur in the variety of forest types existing across the state. Flexibility will be needed by forest managers to address climate change through mitigation, adaptation, and where possible, joint mitigation and adaptation (JMA) strategies. Flexibility will also be needed in technical assistance and funding programs.

Critical to all this is: (1) maintaining forests as forests, (2) preserving forests with high carbon stocks, and (3) aiding the recovery of forests with depleted carbon stocks. In Southern and Eastern Oregon, increased prescribed burning and mechanical treatments may be needed to protect against increasing fire risk and subsequent carbon loss. In some instances this may result in short-term negative carbon consequences. Whereas strategies in Western Oregon can take advantage of having some of the most productive forests globally.

Current harvesting cycles on private lands in Western Oregon leave the most productive forests predominantly under 40 years old, consequentially they are storing a third or less of their ecological potential as a carbon sinks. Extending rotations to the culmination of mean annual increment, i.e. the point of maximum wood accumulation, is a more optimal carbon strategy than the current scenario.

In doing so, it is possible to sequester roughly an additional 200,000,000 metric CO2e over the next 40 - 50 years. This is a technical maximum that assumes 100% participation on all forests currently 40 years or less. Feasible opportunities for improved stocking in the Coast Range will be dictated by economics, social acceptability, and policy.

A range of strategies can be implemented to secure existing carbon sinks, expand the forest carbon sink while keeping it resilient, and invest in the forest economy in a manner aligned with carbon goals. Co-benefits to these strategies include an increase in the value of wood at harvest, diversifying the forest products sector, enhanced adaptive capacity, as well as many other ecological benefits.
Aug 8, 2018
Senior Fellow Char Miller Comments on Wildfires in Western US
Pinchot Institute Senior Fellow Char Miller is a highly regarded scholar of US environmental policy and public lands management, water politics in the western US, and urbanization and the interplay between the natural and built landscapes. He has recently shared insights on the causes of, and potential solutions to, the historic fires burning across the western US:

Jul 13, 2018
Carbon Pricing and Working Lands in Oregon
A project to inform carbon pricing legislation that reduces emissions while supporting and investing in resilient, prosperous lands and communities.

Jun 16, 2017
Building Watershed Resiliency in the Upper Delaware River Region
Leaders from around the region recently gathered in New York’s Sullivan County to learn about the impacts of climate change on local water resources and communities and to discuss strategies for reducing vulnerability to these impacts. The workshop, “Building Watershed Resiliency in the Upper Delaware River Region,” was organized by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and Friends of the Upper Delaware River and hosted by the Sullivan County Division of Planning & Environmental Management and The Nature Conservancy New York Chapter.
May 10, 2017
Carbon Forestry Workshop
In collaboration with a number of partners the Pinchot Institute recently held a workshop for landowners and foresters interested in learning about forest carbon management, carbon markets, and financial and technical resources available to them.

Participants in this workshop included non-industrial forest owners, consulting foresters, state agencies, conservation districts, planning agencies, conservation organizations, a carbon credit development company, and extension foresters. Participants came from the three west coast states.

Read the workshop summary here: http://www.pinchot.org/doc/602.

Mar 14, 2017
Now enrolling: Assistance to forest landowners in Washington and Oregon for accessing carbon markets
Carbon markets can provide a new annual income stream to forest owners. This program provides technical and financial assistance to family forestland owners interested in either the voluntary or compliance carbon market.

Learn more >>
Dec 21, 2016
The Pinchot Wire: How a Growing Timber Business Revived a Forest
How a growing timber business revived a forest
By Nathanael Johnson

The settlement of Cristóbal Colón, like most tiny towns scraped into the backcountry, was rough. There were no jobs in the rural community in western Ecuador, so people were leaving to eek out a meager existence in the capital. Houses were empty and alcoholism was a serious problem, Maria Quezada, a longtime resident of Colón, told me. “For those that remained there was only one option: clear the forest and establish plantations,” she said.
Aug 29, 2016
The Pinchot Wire: Private Cash, Public Lands - Why the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Matters
Here’s how President Obama celebrated the National Park Service’s 100th birthday: with the stroke of his pen, he established the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine, one of the most innovative initiatives in U.S. environmental history. That’s because the 87,500-acre park, which encompasses some of the Pine Tree State’s most remarkable forests and waterways, is a gift of the Quimby family and comes with a $40 million endowment, a private-public partnership without parallel.
Aug 26, 2016
New conservation project helps Northwest Oregon family forests unlock their potential
Small woodland owners in Northwest Oregon are unlocking their forest’s potential to sequester carbon, thanks to a new project with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), and the Pinchot Institute.
Aug 24, 2016
Institute advises E.U. on sustainability of wood pellets from Southeast U.S.
Driven by climate and energy policies, European power plants are being fueled by wood pellets imported from the Coastal Plain of the Southeast U.S., a region known for its globally significant biodiversity, carbon storing capacity, and contributions to the international forest economy. The Pinchot Institute is the lead author of a new report tendered by the European Commission to evaluate the environmental effects of this increasing demand and inform the policy debate concerning the role of bioenergy in E.U. climate and energy policies.
Jul 19, 2016
New National Forests Book from Senior Fellow Char Miller
Pinchot Institute University Fellow Char Miller has recently completed a new illustrated celebration of our greatest National Forests, from Alaska to Florida.
Jan 22, 2016
Dr. Jerry F. Franklin to be awarded Pinchot Medallion
Dr. Jerry F. Franklin will deliver the 2016 Pinchot Distinguished Lecture and be awarded the Pinchot Medallion on Thursday, February 18th at 3pm at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.
Aug 11, 2015
Gifford Pinchot to be Inducted into World Forestry Center Leadership Hall
The World Forestry Center and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation are pleased to announce that the World Forestry Center will induct Gifford Pinchot into its Leadership Hall. Pinchot’s ethic of “the greatest good, for the greatest number, in the long run” still resonates today, the 150th anniversary of his birth.
Jul 31, 2015
25th Anniversary of the Grey Towers Protocol
This year will mark the 25th anniversary of the Grey Towers Protocol, which established a set of guiding principles for forest managers, based on the “moral imperative” of land stewardship. It also came to define in the minds of many the values, mission, and purposes of the Pinchot Institute. The Grey Towers Protocol was the outcome of a two-day symposium held at Grey Towers in November 1990, in conjunction with the centennial of the Forest Reserve Act of 1891.
Jul 8, 2014
Kent Connaughton, Wade Mosby Elected to Pinchot Institute Board of Directors
The Pinchot Institute for Conservation has announced the election of Kent Connaughton and Wade Mosby to its board of directors. “Wade and Kent bring exceptional knowledge of forest conservation and management to the Institute, with broad experience in economics and policy matters on both public and private lands,” said board chair Nels Johnson.
Jun 4, 2014
Pinchot Institute Opens Western Regional Office
The Pinchot Institute for Conservation announced the opening of its new Western Regional Office today, naming Brian Kittler as its founding director.  Kittler was formerly with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.   “The Western Regional Office will allow the Pinchot Institute to work more closely with our federal, state and regional partners throughout the West to improve the conservation and sustainable management of forests on both public and private lands,” said Institute President Al Sample.
Dec 17, 2013
Experiment to manage federal lands through local collaboration gets mixed review
An Independent Science Panel has issued its evaluation of a decade-long experiment with locally-driven management of three National Forests in northern California, finding that the experiment fell short of goals set for the number of projects completed, expected timber volume, and associated employment.  The experiment was mandated by federal legislation spearheaded by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and former Congressman Wally Herger (R-CA), involved environmental groups, timber companies, county governments, and others in US Forest Service decisions on the management of parts of the Lassen, Plumas, and Tahoe National Forests.  The Independent Science Panel report, also mandated as part of the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act of 1998, was released today by the Pinchot Institute, a conservation think tank based in Washington, DC, which coordinated the study and prepared the report to Congress.
Oct 29, 2013
Stakeholders Address Sustainability at Critical Moment in the Growth of Wood Energy Trade
Europe is expected to import up to 60 million tons of wood pellets annually in the next 20 years, most coming from the U.S. South. To address this growing trade in wood energy, over 60 experts and stakeholders representing conservation organizations, government agencies, universities, and the forest and renewable energy industries in nine different countries gathered in Savannah, Georgia, last week.
Oct 25, 2013
V. Alaric Sample Address at the 20th Anniversary of the European Forest Institute (EFI)
Pinchot Institute President V. Alaric Sample addressed the Annual Conference of the European Forest Institute at its 20th anniversary in Nancy, France, on September 24, 2013.

Media Coverage

Sep 29, 2016
New York Times: How Small Forests Can Help Save the Planet
More than half of the 751 million acres of forestland in the United States are privately owned, most by people like Ms. Lonnquist, with holdings of 1,000 acres or less. These family forests, environmental groups argue, represent a large, untapped resource for combating the effects of climate change.

Conserving the trees and profiting from them might seem incompatible. But Ms. Lonnquist is hoping to do both by capitalizing on the forest’s ability to clean the air, turning the carbon stored in the forest into credits that can then be sold to polluters who want or need to offset their carbon footprints.

Continue reading at NYTimes.com
Jan 11, 2016
Family-owned forest land may soon change hands
2016 may turn out to be a big year for real estate. In this case, it's forests that are for sale. Over a third of U.S. forest land is owned by private families. And many of those owners are now senior citizens, suggesting that their land may soon change hands.

Continue reading at Marketplace
Jun 12, 2014
Takeaways from the UC-Berkeley Summit on Forest Science Education
This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the Forestry Program in the College of Natural Resources at the University of California–Berkeley. As part of its centennial celebration, the college hosted the North American Summit on Forest Science Education May 7–9. The three-day event brought together employers, students, and university faculty from the United States, Canada, and across the globe to produce recommendations on eight themes in forest science and forestry education.

Ultimately, summit organizers hope the recommendations will provide input to the forestry accreditation process, help guide the development of university curriculum, and be used to critically evaluate the role of education in forestland stewardship.

Continue reading...
Feb 14, 2014
Forest-health ‘ATreeM’ cards offset health care spending

The spirit of rebirth is as evergreen in Columbia County, Ore. as the timber that has sustained the county’s economy for centuries.

Perhaps nowhere is that more apparent than in the city of Vernonia, which endured two 500-year floods in 11 years — 1996 and 2007 — and in many ways is still recovering. The most recent flood caused $120 million in damage in rural Vernonia (pop. 49,300), according to county Commissioner Tony Hyde, the city’s former mayor.

Continue reading at County News...

Oct 16, 2013
Plaudits for a Pinchot Institute Climate Change Initiative in the Upper Delaware
The River Reporter praised the Pinchot Institute's efforts to empower local communities in the Upper Delaware Basin to adapt to climate change. The Institute's ongoing scientific assessment will help protect forests and economies avoid the worst effects of a changing climate.

Read the River Reporter's editorial here.
Oct 16, 2013
PIC Research Fellow Leila Pinchot Delivers Keynote Address at Centennial Conservation Expo
Dr. Leila Pinchot delivered the keynote address, at the Centennial Conservation Expo in Knoxville, TN. Pinchot, the great-granddaughter of Gifford Pinchot, who directed the National Conservation Exposition held in the same park 100 years ago this month, is a noted conservationist herself, involved in the study of the blight-ravaged chestnut tree, and a alumna of the University of Tennessee. Read her keynote address at Metropulse.com.
Apr 20, 2013
Documentary Points to Hope on Environment
The environmental news seems particularly grim this spring. Southern California continues in a drought; from desert to coast the land is brittle brown.

Dry too are the Sierra mountains, where the snow pack is well below normal. That's really bad news for Central Valley farmers and L.A. industry and residents dependent on its runoff for water. The latest data from NOAA and the EPA suggest this dry spell will continue in an era of changing climate, deepening our anxieties about how to live in this land of little rain.

One could easily (and understandably) lose hope, and give in to the Green Blues, a term one of my colleagues coined to describe the dispiriting response to the multi-layered environmental problems associated with climate disruption.

Continue reading on The Sun...

Apr 19, 2013
Forest Restoration Workshop for Pike-Monroe Woodland Owners Group
A Forest Restoration Workshop is scheduled from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Milford Experimental Forest, a privately owned 1,191-acre research forest on Schocopee Road in Milford. In December 2006, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy helped several members of the Pinchot family, headed by Peter Pinchot, complete negotiations to protect this land.

The workshop will focus on how landowners can improve the forest health, using American chestnut reintroduction as an example. This will be presented by Leila Pinchot, a research fellow with the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, who has a Ph.D. in chestnut restoration.

Leila is the great-granddaughter of Gifford Pinchot, the first person to head the United States Forest Service. Participants in the workshop will learn how to mark timber, implement a harvest and plant chestnuts and oaks. You can attend all day or pick the morning or afternoon sessions.

Continue reading at the Pocono Record...
Mar 19, 2013
USFS head calls for stewardship contracting, warns of sequester impacts
Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell yesterday urged Congress to permanently authorize an expiring program that allows proceeds from timber sales to be used for forest restoration, arguing it enjoys broad bipartisan support.

Tidwell said a recovering housing market has generated more demand for wood products, which could allow the agency to raise more revenues to fund forest restoration projects.

At a hearing before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry, Tidwell also discussed the effects of sequester cuts, the success of collaborative planning and the Bureau of Land Management's new hydraulic fracturing rule.

Continue reading...

Mar 1, 2013
New Documentary Film on the Life and Legacy of Gifford Pinchot
Starting in March, keep your eyes peeled for Seeking the Greatest Good: The Conservation Legacy of Gifford Pinchot on your local PBS affiliate (check your local listings here). Seeking the Greatest Good is a documentary produced by the public television station WVIA that links Gifford Pinchot’s conservation philosophy with the Pinchot Institute for Conservation’s (PIC) efforts to address contemporary environmental issues.

Continue reading on the Forest History Society blog...

Feb 28, 2013
Forest Service Chief Talks Climate Change -- in Washington and on the Ground
On climate change, the Obama administration seems to be finding its voice.

That was not always the case: because President Obama was not about to let climate change disrupt his second-term chances, during his first term he sat quietly as Republicans vociferously attacked anyone trying to construct an effective climate-change policy for the nation.

These assaults, Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies told Bill Moyers recently, were part of a larger "disinformation campaign" that the fossil-fuel industry has funded: "I mean, they're very happy, thank you very much, with the status quo," delighted with the results of their actions "to get people to believe that the experts do not agree."

Among those who deferred was the Obama administration, and that's still true to some extent. In mid-February more than 40,000 climate activists rallied around the White House as part of the nation's largest such fossil-free rally ever, but the president was a no-show. Instead, he was on a Florida golf course, shooting a sunny round with oil-and-gas executives.

This tone-deaf moment aside, off the links President Obama and the executive branch are starting to speak about the urgent need to protect life on Earth.

Continue reading on KCET.org...

Feb 15, 2013
Under climate change, some ecosystems may be lost - Forest Service Chief

The loss of certain forest ecosystems may be inevitable in a future shaped by climate change, the chief of the Forest Service said yesterday.

Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell delivered his frank assessment of the challenges posed by global warming yesterday as the guest speaker for the 2013 Pinchot Distinguished Lecture, hosted by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. He stressed that his agency, now more than a century old, will need to adjust its standards and practices quickly to keep up with the rapid pace of ecosystem change under global warming.

"I can't stress this enough: The things we learned in school -- what's right for this stand of trees, what's right for this watershed -- might not work in the future," he said.

Among the changes, the Forest Service may have to suspend its long-standing mandate of restoring ecosystems that have experienced disturbance events, he said.

"There are certain areas that we are not going to be able to maintain. There are places we've seen where aspen [trees] have been lost, and we've gone in and tried to restore them, when the reality is, we've lost the site, it's not coming back."

Read the full article on ClimateWire (paywall)

Jan 3, 2013
Growing Forests For Health Care
Instead of selling or logging their land to pay medical bills as they age, could family forest owners trade carbon credits for health care?

A new pilot program in Columbia County is trying to find way for small forestland owners to pay for healthcare without cutting more trees. It’s next in a series on innovative environmental ideas.

Collectively, small private landowners own a lot of the tree-covered turf in the U.S. But a lot of that forestland – an area the size of Idaho, according to the Pinchot Institute for Conservation – is at risk of being lost to development as owners age over the next 20 years.

Click here to continue reading this article from Ecotrope.

Aug 13, 2012
Reports address US pellet production, EU sustainability criteria
U.S. producers of wood pellets will likely need to meet or exceed sustainability standards set by the European Union for solid biofuels in order access the European export market. Two reports have recently been published that examine the economic, environmental and policy implications of the expanding wood pellet market...

Click here to continue reading this article from Biomass Magazine.

May 17, 2012
Biomass Markets and Sustainable Harvesting Guidelines
This all came to mind for me today as I viewed a new series of videos posted by The Forest Guild with the support of The Pinchot Institute.  The series is basically one story told from four perspectives; renewable energy production, forest management, conservation and environmental protection, and policy. I found it interesting to see how one basic message can be tailored to four different audiences, and I appreciate their foresight to produce the series in that manner.

Click here to continue reading this post on the Go Wood Blog.
Oct 6, 2011
Common Waters Fund Announces Grants to Forest Land Owners
Two dozen landowners across three states will share more than $175,000 in Common Waters Fund grants to develop forest management plans and implement sustainable management practices that protect water quality. The awards were distributed in September by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation.

Read the full article on The River Reporter's website.
Sep 1, 2011
Cemetery is testing ground for carbon valuation
VERNONIA — A cemetery may seem an unusual place to test the world’s first ground-based laser scanning forest carbon valuation system, but then again, a project that links carbon credits with health care is not the norm either.

Read the full article in The Daily Astorian or visit the Forest Health Human Health Initiative webpage to learn more.

Aug 12, 2011
How the Bay Bank Can Help Save Family Farms
Ecosystem Marketplace has published a two-part feature on the Pinchot Institute's Bay Bank, an innovative program to help landowners earn credit for conservation measures undertaken on their property. Part one focusses on how the Bay Bank can specifically help family farmers and small landowners; the second part profiles a landowner demonstration project featuring brook trout credits. For more information about the Bay Bank please visit the Bay Bank program page.
Jul 7, 2011
$250,000 in grants to Upper Delaware Basin landowners from Common Waters Fund
The Common Waters Fund, a project of the Pinchot Institute, recently awarded $250,000 in grants to forest owners in the Upper Delaware River Basin to develop forest management plans and implement sustainable management practices that protect water quality.

Visit the Pike County Courier for the full story.
Jun 30, 2011
Vernonia Biomass Project Receives USDA Grant
Plans for woody biomass facilities and other innovative energy projects in Vernonia are moving forward with the help of a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA awarded the city $25,000 from its Forest Service Woody Biomass Utilization grant, part of a $3 million package of funding doled out to renewable energy projects nationwide.

Pinchot Institute Senior Fellow Catherine Mater has worked closely on the project, the first of its kind planned in the nation.

Read the full article here or visit the Pinchot Institue's bioenergy page to learn more.

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