Conservancy Applauds Steps Toward Climate-Smart Management of National Forests

An inventory of mature and old-growth forests recognizes the role forests play in mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss

A stand of old-growth trees in daytime.
Landscape of old growth forest at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, Washington. Landscape of old growth forest at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, Washington. © Chris Crisman

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The Biden administration yesterday released the first-ever inventory of mature and old-growth forests on federal land across the United States.

The inventory assessed old-growth and mature forests on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The follow-on plans to evaluate threats to these forests will position the USFS to design climate-smart strategies to retain and reduce threats to the carbon stocks and biodiversity these forests contain.

USFS also announced it would be accepting public input on the development of strategies to protect, conserve, and manage existing mature and old forest stands national forests for climate resilience. It will also seek input on plans to facilitate science-based management and strategies to develop future mature and old-growth, resilient, resistant, and climate-adapted forests.

The following is a statement by Alix Murdoch, Senior Policy Advisor for The Nature Conservancy: 

“This inventory and threat assessment are important first steps in developing climate-smart strategies to conserve, manage, and restore these critical lands. Developing forest- and threat-specific strategies, including active management where they are needed to reduce threats, will support climate mitigation and forest resilience as well as promote biodiversity by conserving habitat.

“We recognize the significant efforts of the Forest Service to complete this preliminary inventory and take steps to advance climate-smart management of our national forests. We look forward to working with the administration to plan for conserving, managing, and restoring the mature and old-growth forests of today and into the future.”  

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.