More than 60% of North Carolina is forested with many kinds of woodlands and forests, ranging from rare high elevation spruce-fir forests to coastal maritime forests. North Carolina’s forest lands currently pull 37.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year from the atmosphere, offsetting 25% of North Carolina’s greenhouse gas emissions. This level of carbon sequestration puts North Carolina far above the national average of 11% emissions offset by forest lands.

Conserving and restoring forests in North Carolina is one of the most important steps we can take to decrease the effects of climate change and reduce overall carbon emissions. Protecting healthy North Carolina forests provides many benefits, such as protecting drinking water, conserving wildlife habitat, providing outdoor recreation, reducing air pollution and wildfire risk, and supplying forest products.

The Forestry Committee of the Natural and Working Lands Stakeholder Group is composed of representatives from state and federal government, conservation organizations, the forest products industry, and universities. Some examples of forest-based projects that carry out recommendations from the NC Natural and Working Lands Action Plan are:

Produced in March 2021 by RTI International, this report reviews and summarizes the status, benefits, and opportunities for conservation in North Carolina.

Contact for more information: Kimberly Matthews, RTI International

  • North Carolina Forest Carbon Community of Interest

This group includes members from the Natural and Working Lands Forestry subcommittee in addition to other North Carolina based researchers and practitioners working on forest carbon. Its purpose is to engage with experts working outside of North Carolina to help us think about strategies that could be used to implement the forest carbon-related Natural and Working Lands Action Plan recommendations.

Contact for more information: Lydia Olander and Sara Mason, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University