Climate Change and Forests

Jefferson Wilderness

Global climate change presents perhaps the most profound and complex challenge the human species has ever faced. Climate change is already having a measurable impact on Oregon’s forests, watersheds, and treasured wild places, and as the planet continues to warm at an unprecedented pace, we will continue to see significant impacts to Oregon’s economy, communities, ecosystems, and our way of life.

In recent years, Oregonians have been talking more about ways to reduce the carbon emissions from our energy and transportation sectors; however, notably absent from these conversations is Oregon’s largest source of carbon emissions: logging. Recent research, including a groundbreaking study from Oregon State University, shows that Oregon’s logging industry emits more carbon into our atmosphere than any other sector.

Take Action!

The single biggest step Oregon can take to combat climate change is to modernize our forest management laws. If we do this, and protect our public lands, the sprawling forestlands that blanket half of our state could become an invaluable asset in mitigating and adapting to climate change. 

Oregon Wild supports two core strategies that would greatly reduce Oregon’s carbon emissions from logging while bolstering our forests’ natural capacity to capture and store vast amounts of carbon:

1. Modernize Oregon’s outdated logging laws to reduce clearcutting and encourage climate-smart practices (read more here

Oregon’s timber industry adds more carbon pollution into the atmosphere every year than any other sector. Oregon’s state and private forest lands can only reach their potential to combat climate change if state logging laws are reformed and incentives are created to encourage climate-friendly practices. 

  • Call the Governor today! 503-378-4582
  • Find out about other ways to take action at        

2. Permanently protect our remaining old-growth forests and encourage forest restoration on our public lands
Over the past few years, there have been numerous efforts to sell off our public lands and increase the scope and scale of logging in our public forests. One of the best ways to ensure that our forests continue to capture and store carbon is to reduce the rate of logging and permanently protect our forests as Wilderness.

Two reports from Oregon Wild on northwest forests and global warming

Climate ControlHow Northwest Old-Growth Forests Can Help Fight Global Warming
Oregon's Carbon Sinks: an Oregon Wild report localizing national analysis by the Woods Hole Research Center
Photo by John Waller.