This article was featured in the 2023 Winter Newsletter by Rob Willaims-SLELO PRISM.
Natural climate solutions are essential to New York’s climate mitigation goals. Reducing the threat from invasive species is an important strategy for maintaining the carbon sequestration potential of New York’s forests.
A recent study showed forest plots damaged by insect pests stored 69% less carbon than less disturbed plots(1). Additionally, data used from USDA Forest Service’s National Forest Inventory and Analysis Program was used in the study and indicated that the amount of reduced carbon storage in disturbed forests is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from over 10 million passenger vehicles driven for a year (2).
The combined efforts of SLELO and other New York PRISMs to slow the spread of forest pests and pathogens are key to ensuring the potential for sequestering carbon in our forests. Therefore, if we think of our invasives’ work in terms of supporting the ability of our forests to sequester carbon, then we can expose the value our work brings towards climate mitigation.