Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) is expected to introduce legislation today that will provide economic opportunities for voluntary greenhouse gas reductions especially in the agriculture, forestry and manufacturing sectors, according to a press release from the conservation organization, The Nature Conservancy.

Senator Stabenow’s bill also offers some significant improvements over the American Clean Energy & Security Act (ACES), passed earlier this year by the U.S. House of Representatives, in terms of how it would deal with carbon emission reduction incentives for forests, according to representatives of The Nature Conservancy.

"The Nature Conservancy greatly appreciates Senator Stabenow's leadership on this important issue,” said Helen Taylor, state director of Michigan for The Nature Conservancy. “Forests here in Michigan and across the country have an important contribution to make in protecting our climate from effects that will have devastating impacts on our state and the Great Lakes. We look forward to working with her and other Senators to ensure American forests have a strong place in climate legislation."

Others in the Conservancy agree that Senator Stabenow’s legislation is a step in the right direction. Great Lakes Climate Change Ecologist Dr. Kim Hall has been working on projections for how climate change might impact the Great Lakes region, and sees legislation like this as important incentives to keep forests intact, which helps absorb carbon, among other ecosystem services and benefits.

“Restoring and maintaining functional ecosystems like forests can help store carbon dioxide and protect key processes like water purification and storage that will help both humans and nature adapt,” Dr. Hall said. “We need to motivate people to help restore and maintain those systems. Policy proposals like this are a step in the right direction and can go a long way towards our goal of restoring America’s forests.”