UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – In the U.P. and across the state of Michigan, the timber industry is a large part of its history and economy. Due to the effects of climate change on the forests, a company is working to conserve these forests through carbon development.

Bluesource Sustainable Forests Company has purchased over 29-thousand acres of forestland near Manistique that stretches across Schoolcraft, Mackinac, Alger, Chippewa, and Luce counties. Anew Climate and Oak Hill Advisors are working collaboratively to finance BSFC’s purchase of timberlands to transition the management of the forests to prioritize tree growth for carbon sequestration, which is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the most commonly produced greenhouse gas. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of mitigating the worst effects of global climate change.

“It really is going back to the carbon cycle, and we all know trees to be incredibly valuable for photosynthesis and producing oxygen,” said Jeanethe Falvey, senior director of marketing and communications for Anew Climate. [Trees] are composed of carbon and so that’s what I mean, we’re valuing the entire ecosystem, not just the standing trees but even allowing the forest to naturally regenerate. There’s carbon stored in the soil, in the bogs, in the undergrowth in dead trees, so while we typically measure that in trees that are alive, it’s really about boosting the entire ecosystem and just allowing the forest to be a forest the way nature intended and that actually has tremendous climate benefit.”

In the future, BSFC plans to initiate a selective logging operation well below annual growth levels. This will allow these forests to continue as working forestlands to support the local economy and produce high value forest products, while also developing carbon credits.

“In terms of economic opportunity, we employ third-party consultants who are local foresters to help us manage the property and as we enroll a carbon project, there will be local opportunity for folks to participate in forest carbon inventory work and ongoing maintenance associated with the project itself,” said Cakey Worthington, BSFC’s director of forestry operations.

BSFC has also ensured that the land will remain open for public recreational access. To learn more about the Manistique project, click here.