Cal FIRE Awards Grants to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Sequester Carbon

Landowners will retain ownership of their land and will not be restricted from using it for activities such as timber harvest, hunting, fishing, and hiking; the grants will protect more than 28,285 acres of forests from development.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal FIRE) will award more than $21 million in grants to local groups statewide that will help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon. Three of the six grants announced recently fall under the agency's Forest Legacy Program and enable the purchase of conservation easements on properties in Mendocino, San Bernardino, and Siskiyou counties, protecting the land from being used in ways that would increase greenhouse gas emissions – such as urban or agricultural development – and harnessing the ability of trees to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

Landowners will retain ownership of their land and will not be restricted from using it for activities such as timber harvest, hunting, fishing, and hiking; the grants will protect more than 28,285 acres of forests from development, according to the agency, which reported the grants use proceeds from California's cap-and-trade program to combat climate change.

"Investments in forest health are even more critical now because of climate change," said Chief Ken Pimlott, Cal FIRE's director. "California continues to invest millions of dollars into protecting working forest lands and improving our state's urban forests, which will help increase carbon sequestration and has the added benefit of helping protect our state's vital watersheds."

Cal FIRE's voluntary Forest Legacy Program ensures state forests will provide wildlife habitat and watershed protection as well as jobs, strong rural economies, grazing, recreation, and research opportunities. To date, the program has conserved nearly 111,379 acres of working forest lands in California.

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