Daigneault testifies in hybrid Congressional hearing on sustainable forestry and climate solutions

Adam Daigneault, University of Maine E.L. Giddings Associate Professor of Forest Policy and Economics, testified Sept. 29 before a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Underserved, Agricultural, and Rural Development, chaired by Maine Rep. Jared Golden. 

A copy of Daigneault’s written testimony and more about the hybrid Hearing on Sustainable Forestry and Climate Solutions are online.

Also testifying at the hearing were Dana Doran, executive director of Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, based in Augusta, and Mark Thibodeau, regional manager of ReEnergy Stratton LLC in Carrabassett Valley.

A focus of the hearing was the role of sustainable forestry and how small businesses across this sector are helping to address climate change. Daigneault, whose research focuses on modelling economic impacts of environmental policy on the forestry and agricultural sectors, spoke about  how we can manage U.S. forests for carbon, timber and other ecosystem services, and how we can use natural climate solutions and carbon markets to help forest-dependent economies grow.

Daigneault is one of more than two dozen University of Maine System researchers who helped inform the development of Maine’s Climate Action Plan. He serves on Gov. Janet Mills’ Maine Forest Carbon Task Force.

Forests have immense potential to help mitigate climate change, Daigneault testified, and sustainable forest management and harvests are key to enhancing forest carbon sinks. Forest markets are critical to maintaining the health and sustainability of our forests, including woody biomass and bioenergy that are part of the climate solution.

“Given the complexity of the changes to our forest ecosystem and forest products sector and the speed at which they can occur, there is more need than ever to employ the very best science to inform decision-making,” said Daigneault. “The opportunities for forests and wood products to contribute to both carbon and sustainability goals have never been more critical.” 

Careful analysis of both the carbon costs and benefits, and the timeline of impacts are essential to ensure that the forest contribution to eliminating anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is a net benefit, he said. 

“We must continue to identify and promote sustainable opportunities to simultaneously improve the health of our forest ecosystems and the economies and people who are dependent on this important natural resource,” Daigneault said.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, nagle@maine.edu