Forests cover 89 percent of Maine and are the foundation for Maine’s forest products industry and the state’s overall natural resource-based economy. Each year, Maine's forests sequester an amount of carbon equal to at least 60 percent of the state's annual carbon emissions, a figure that rises to 75 percent when durable forest products are included. The Forest Carbon Task Force work seeks to build upon this effort.
Created by Executive Order of Governor Janet Mills, the Forest Carbon Task Force was recommended by the state’s new four-year climate action plan, Maine Won’t Wait, and aims to develop a voluntary program for small-to-medium size woodland owners in Maine who want to utilize their land for long-term storage of carbon emissions, a process known as carbon sequestration.
Forest carbon programs provide financial incentives to preserve forests, thereby storing carbon emissions. However, today, most existing programs are not accessible or economically feasible for smaller woodland owners.
Unlocking the powerful carbon-storage potential of forested lands means designing a forest carbon program that helps reduce the loss of natural and working lands to development, which is now estimated at 10,000 acres annually and rising.
Governor's Forest Carbon Task Force Final Report
The Governor’s Task Force on the Creation of a Forest Carbon Program has released a report with its final recommendations for maximizing carbon storage on Maine’s smaller woodlands. Established by Executive Order on January 13, 2021, the Task Force was charged with developing incentives to encourage forestland management practices that increase carbon storage specifically on woodlands of 10 to 10,000 acres while maintaining harvest levels overall. The 10-month long process involved substantial public input and resulted in a consensus report containing wide-ranging recommendations which, if implemented, will enable Maine’s forests to contribute significantly toward achieving the state’s climate goals.
The Task Force consists of the following thirteen members appointed by the Governor. The co-chairs are Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and Tom Abello, Legislative Director for Governor Mills.
The Task Force members are:
- Mark Berry, The Nature Conservancy
- Barrie Brusilla, Mid-Maine Forestry
- Adam Daigneault, School of Forest Resources, University of Maine
- Tom Doak, Maine Woodland Owners
- Dana Doran, Professional Logging Contractors of Maine
- Ivan Fernandez, Climate Change Institute and School of Forest Resources, University of Maine
- Alec Giffen, New England Forestry Foundation
- Stacy Knapp, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
- Donald Mansius, Maine Forest Service, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
- Ryan Robicheau, Maine Department of Inland, Fisheries and Wildlife
- Melissa Shea, The Mountain Farm
- Patrick Strauch, Maine Forest Products Council
- Karen Tilberg, Forest Society of Maine
For more information about the Task Force please contact Tom Gordon at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.