America’s majestic trees — Douglas firs in the Pacific Northwest, sequoias and redwoods in California, longleaf pines in the South — can live for hundreds of years, protecting nearby water systems, holding topsoil together, and filtering air pollution. They also act as a carbon bank, extracting carbon dioxide from the air and storing it, which makes them an important resource for tackling the climate crisis.
In recognition of Earth Day on Friday, President Joe Biden took a step toward protecting these trees, signing an executive order directing the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture to create an inventory of mature and old-growth forests on federal lands. Biden’s order requires the agencies to use the findings from the inventory to craft policies that protect old-growth forests from a number of threats, including wildfires and other risks exacerbated by climate change.
The order also recognizes the crucial role that forests play in rural economies. While sparse on details, the White House’s writeup noted that federal agencies will work with local governments, nonprofits, labor unions, and the scientific community to “create ... Read more