Reader reaction: Preserving forestland in California

This letter first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle Letters to the Editor on May 11, 2016, in response to California ponders expanding cap and trade to Brazil.

Regarding “State’s cap and trade may reach rain forests” (May 9): California’s Air Resources Board’s forest protocols are currently paying logging companies like Sierra Pacific Industries for credits they earn on forests they are clear-cutting. These same protocols are written in such a way that groups dedicated to preserving forests like the Sempervirens Funds and the Save the Redwoods League cannot get paid for preserving forests on their lands unless they first come up with a plan that includes cutting down some trees.

We know that old forests sequester the most carbon and continue sequestering at a faster rate than newly planted forests. Why were the timber companies allowed to write the forest protocols in such a way as to get paid for clearing the very forests we need to preserve if we are going to make any difference in the amount of carbon in our atmosphere? How can Gov. Jerry Brown claim to be a leader in this area when he will not even act to stop the clear-cutting of forests here in California?

James Feichtl, Belmont