On a recent spring day that was simultaneously grey and vibrant green, I was lucky to be invited for a "lift" on the Wind River Canopy Crane which is situated in a 500 year-old old-growth forest in southern Washington. This was certainly one of the more memorable experiences of my life.
Forest research conducted as sites like this helps provide the factual rationale supporting forest conservation. From this canopy crane site we’ve already learned important new information about the structure of old-growth forests as they develop and diversify.
Scientists have also confirmed that even after 500 years, this forest is still absorbing more carbon which helps stabilize our global climate. This is counter to the often repeated mantra of the timber industry that old-growth forests are stagnant and declining. In fact, close inspection of older forests around the world reveals that most old forests continue to serve as carbon sinks. Northwest old-growth forests store more carbon than any other forest type in the world … yet another great reason to permanently protect our old growth forests. For more information, see Oregon Wild’s “Climate Control” report.