Federal forests could be tasked with fighting global warming

Excerpts:

Now some in Congress and the administration are trying to find a way for the government to be paid for the use federal forests play in pulling heat-trapping gasses like carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That might involve logging, thinning or no cutting at all. It matters here, however, because federal forests make up the majority of Oregon timberlands.

"No doubt, this is one way to bring considerable investment to the nation's forests," Tom Tidwell, the chief of the U.S. Forest Service said this month. "There are also some concerns and some questions."

… The scientific debate is only part of the challenge. More problems arise when you try to put a dollar value on carbon storage

… For Northwest federal lands, business as usual is already capturing and storing a lot of carbon. Al Gore, the most high-profile figure warning against man-made global warming, said as much on a recent trip to Portland. "I think the balance we struck back in the day with the Northwest Forest Plan is still in broad outline the appropriate balance to strike," the former vice president said.