by Guy Page
Vermont’s forests and wood products consume and store 45% of all of Vermont’s carbon emissions – both manmade and natural, Vermont Forest, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder said on Common Sense Radio show on WDEV.
“Forests are the lungs of the planet,” Snyder told host Bill Sayre.
Vermont’s 4.5 million acres of forestland are a net carbon sink, meaning that each year they take in more CO2 from the atmosphere than they emit, according to the Vermont Dept. of Forest, Parks and Recreation. Vermont’s forests store over 1.7 billion metric tons (Mt) of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) – about 200 years’ worth of emissions, Snyder said.
Every year, forests sequester (take in) more than 5 million Mt CO2e each year. To put this in context, each year Vermonters emit about 8 million Mt CO2e. The rest of the total emissions are naturally-produced (decomposing wood, for example.)
“Forests are our unsung hero in the social goal to reduce carbon dioxide,” Sayre noted.
Sayre noted that percentage has slipped from estimates 20 years ago, when Vermont forests were estimated to consume and store almost all emissions. He asked Snyder to explain. Snyder said changes in methodology and a decrease in total forest acreage account for the difference.
Snyder also said that Vermont now has a Climate Forester: Alexandra Kosiba, works out of the Montpelier office. Ali to her friends and colleagues, she started working with the department in 2020. She has a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and an M.S. in Forest Science from UVM. She is interested in understanding how trees and forests respond to environmental change.
Snyder added that forests are also the kidneys of the planet in the role they play cleaning streams and groundwater.