Tagged In: , , ,

Ohio Forests

One of Our Best Tools in the Fight Against Climate Change

Wayne National Forest

Did you know that forests — especially mature forests — are crucial in the fight against climate change?

Trees naturally pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to use during photosynthesis. The larger the tree, the more carbon dioxide captured or “sequestered” in leaves, wood, and soil. Big trees are the best natural tool we have to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Older trees can store and effectively sequester larger amounts of carbon, making mature forests among our best assets in warding off the devastating effects of climate change.

Nearly 95% of our great state was once covered in lush, healthy, old-growth forest. Now, due to decades of overlogging, virtually all of Ohio’s old-growth forests are gone. Today, less than 30% of our land is forested at all and most of our forests are heavily fragmented by roads, utility lines, and development. Furthermore, only about 15% of all forest land in Ohio is public forest held by state, federal, and local governments for public benefit. Many of these public forests are frequently threatened by heavy logging and fossil fuel extraction.

Climate is one of the many reasons why it is so important to push back when special interests aim to extract resources from Ohioans’ public lands.

In 2020 and 2021, the OEC and partners won a federal court case that stopped about 40,000 acres of oil and gas leasing in our state’s only National Forest. That’s nearly the same amount of land as the entire city of Akron, or two Salt Fork State Parks. But the U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently announced that it wants to try leasing that same 40,000 acres again. If leasing moves forward, parts of our public forest will be destroyed. That means the loss of carbon sequestered in trees and soils and more greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

The OEC is continuing the fight to keep fracking out of our National Forest. We need strong, connected public forests that boast impressive old-growth habitat and deep carbon sequestration. Ohio’s forests are only just beginning their recovery, and they need us to help them achieve their potential.

Our climate and our future demand no less.

Get the latest updates on OEC’s public lands advocacy in support of Ohio’s only national forest by scanning the QR code, or visiting