More than 70 million of the 766 million acres of United States forestlands are in Northeastern States. Forests are important carbon sinks, with both trees and soils storing vast amounts of carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.
Trees and forests do much more than sequester carbon though. Through photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen that we breathe. They improve air quality by removing airborne pollution. They act as a barrier to protect land from wind, flooding, soil erosion, and fires. They provide food and habitat for many different flora and fauna, as well as shelter and shade, protecting soil from evaporation and conserving water.
Forest management strategies must improve carbon capture while minimizing stored carbon loss. Mixed forests with diverse species of different ages in young and established forests sequester the most carbon. However, old-growth forests store a significant amount of carbon and should not readily be sacrificed to create younger forests that would take many decades to secure the same amount of carbon.