Preserve & protect: of trees, carbon and tax breaks | Letter

Several years ago a friend expressed her frustration about her need to drive a car, which only added to the destruction of the air quality and contributed to global warming.

The lack of oxygen in our atmosphere is a solvable problem. Trees are what transform CO2 (carbon dioxide) into oxygen. The number of old growth forests left are less than 5 percent at this point. Incentives therefore need to be in place that preserve and sustain the forests.

There are some Washington state programs that attempt to steward forest land through a tax break on the land, e.g. “Designated Forest Land,” but it requires a show of profit from harvesting those same trees at some point.

Not all, but a large percentage of owners agree to harvest their trees in order to receive the tax break. This option doesn’t serve forests, animals or future generations. Instead, it makes the situation worse by exacerbating the problem.

After pondering this dilemma, I came up with the following possibility as a partial remedy:

I have thousands of trees at least 10 years old. I will lease the trees’ ability to transform CO2 to oxygen to someone who wants to offset their fossil fuel or carbon output. Twenty trees are leased for 10 years at a cost of $35 per tree, i.e., a one-time payment of $700 covers the length of the 10-year contract.

The monies received go into planting more trees which in turn produce more oxygen, a stable forest and a sustainable tax solution for people who want to have the opportunity to maintain continuous growth for the tree on the land. There is also the option to lease one tree at a time.

To ensure credibility, I have developed a registry and accounting system along with the legal lease agreement. Any or all of this concept is reproducible for your personal use.

Presently I have created a release form that provides tracking and credibility for the legal rental agreement. Feel free to contact me. Tim Forbes, 376-4735 or tforbes@rockisland.com.

Tim Forbes

Orcas Island