Strategic Forest Reserves can protect biodiversity in the western United States and mitigate climate change
Forest preservation is crucial for protecting biodiversity and mitigating climate change. Here we assess current forest preservation in the western United States using spatial data and find that beyond the 18.9% (17.5 Mha) currently protected, an additional 11.1% (10.3 Mha) is needed to achieve 30% preservation by 2030 (30 × 30). To help meet this regional preservation target, we developed a framework that prioritizes forestlands for preservation using spatial metrics of biodiversity and/or carbon within each ecoregion. We show that meeting this preservation target would lead to greater protection of animal and tree species habitat, current carbon stocks, future carbon accumulation, and forests that are important for surface drinking water. The highest priority forestlands are primarily owned by the federal government, though substantial areas are also owned by private entities and state and tribal governments. Establishing Strategic Forest Reserves would help protect biodiversity and carbon for climate adaptation and mitigation.
© The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Communications Earth & Environment, 2021, available online at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-021-00326-0 . Keywords: climate-change mitigation; ecological modelling; forest ecology.
Law, B.E., Berner, L.T., Buotte, P.C. et al. Strategic Forest Reserves can protect biodiversity in the western United States and mitigate climate change. Commun Earth Environ 2, 254 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00326-0