Lands Commissioner Goldmark: Active forest management is part of responsible climate change policy

The debate over the causes, severity, and potential impacts of climate change continues, but the reality of drought conditions and warmer temperatures is prompting a conversation: What prudent and proactive steps should be taken as a contingency to aid us in adapting to changes in global climate?

State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, together with leading conservationists, said in recent op-ed that responsible management of the resources we have will greatly improve our ability to respond to future climate challenges.

From the Olympian:

While weather patterns vary from year to year, the trend line is clear: Our state is undergoing dramatic shifts due to climate change. Worrying though these shifts may be, Washington has proven tools to a resilient future – our magnificent forests and abundant clean water. Yet without action, these resources are being transformed, leaving us more vulnerable to climate change impacts.

At least 2.7 millions of acres of our forests are sick, dying, dead, or consumed by flames. With snowpack at 9 percent of normal, a drought emergency has caused voluntary water rationing around Puget Sound, put pressure on agriculture, and exacerbated the devastation of wildfires. …

When well-stewarded, the Evergreen State’s lush forests naturally sequester millions of tons of carbon every year and help ensure abundant clean water for agricultural and growing communities. …

A fundamental part of any climate policy must be dedicated investments in clean water and wildfire suppression; innovations in forest management, drought and flood risk reduction; and programs that fight forest parasites and disease, making forests more fire resistant.


Read more of the op-ed at the Olympian >>