Why Forests Matter - Pacific Forest Trust

Why Forests Matter

Forests are essential for people. They provide clean cool water, a safe climate, homes for wildlife, amazing outdoor spaces for all of us to enjoy, as well as wood for our homes and myriad other products.

Have you ever thought about all of the ways we are connected with forests? Whether you drink water, are climate-friendly, care about wildlife, like to get outside and play, care about your community, build houses or fine furniture, we all need forests!

Nearly 60% of U.S. forests are privately owned. We work with landowners to keep forests healthy, vibrant, and productive, sustaining them for all these benefits we enjoy and rely on.

Forests are for you…

…if you drink water

Sip, gulp, or guzzle—forests bring the water to you.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, forested watersheds provide drinking water for over 180 million Americans. For 25 million Californians, drinking water flows from the forested watersheds of the Klamath-Cascade Region and travels hundreds of miles to arrive in water glasses and ice cube trays from the Sacramento Delta to San Diego. Forests play a vital role in capturing, filtering, and supplying cool, clean water throughout the year.


Big Trees

Forests are for you if…

…you are climate-friendly

Forests can help fit your carbon footprint into a smaller shoe.

While you work to reduce the size of your own carbon footprint, forests help as well. Trees breathe in CO2 and exhale oxygen, storing vast amounts of carbon in the process. From single urban trees to full forested landscapes, trees reduce the heat-trapping layer of CO2 in our atmosphere and clean the air we breathe. Human technology alone cannot solve the climate problem. The original “green tech” of forests is an essential part of the climate solution as our safest, most expandable carbon sinks on the planet—the only proven technology to safely pull excess CO2 out of the air, and back into forests.

Forests Are For You If…

…You Care About Wildlife

Creatures great and small make their homes in working forests.

From coastal temperate rainforests like redwood and Douglas fir, to oak woodlands, and mixed conifers of the Klamath-Cascade, forests feature diverse habitats that support thousands of animal and plant species. The Klamath-Cascade Region alone is home to over 600 plant and animal species, 180 of them threatened or endangered. Conserved, working forests make vital connections for wildlife and safeguard special habitats to help animals thrive.

Forests Are For You If…

…You Get Outside And Play


Numerous scientific studies show that spending time in forests actually makes us healthier and happier. From boosting your immune system, to lowering blood pressure, to keeping stress hormones at bay, benefits of a 2-night “forest bathing” trip can last up to 30 days. Forest conservation connects public and private forest lands, reducing human disturbances, and making the “soak” that much more fun.


Forests Are For You…

…If You Care About Community

Forests play an important role in keeping communities vibrant.

While forestry and wood products play an important part in rural economies, healthy, well-managed forests can offer bigger and better financial benefits for everyone. We help create markets for forest carbon, healthy watersheds, and sustainable bio-energy. Working forests create jobs and contribute to County tax rolls and working forest conservation easements reward landowners for their stewardship of wildlife, water, and climate resources, allowing them to reinvest in local economies.

Forests Are For You If…

…You Are A Philanthrophist

If you want to make an impact, change lives, even change the world, forests are a great place to start.

Few other giving opportunities leverage so much for every dollar. Our work helps create new conservation markets and incentives to make large-scale forest conservation possible and rewarding. On the ground, our working forest conservation easements prevent development and ensure forests will be nurtured for old-growth characteristics to support imperiled wildlife. Our work safeguards jobs and creates better economic opportunities in historically depressed rural communities. With a donation from you, we can do all of this while helping to reduce CO2 in our atmosphere and supporting efforts that provide clean drinking water for millions of people.


Our work would not be possible without you. We could not conserve crucial forest landscapes without our many partner landowners, public agencies, scientists, forest managers, organizations, communities and supporters. We rely on the knowledge and findings of scientists, foresters, policy experts, and agency professionals to help us set standards for forest management, climate policy, and watershed health. We work side-by-side with our landowners to grow the most resilient forests possible.

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Photography: Title Image Rogue River by the Bureau of Land Management.