Dear friends of ours are confident that their 10-acre woodlot, which they manage sustainably, compensates for all the greenhouse gases they produce living an average rural Maine lifestyle. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, right? Meanwhile, they drive around some, but their house is modest and they don’t have a yacht or a Florida condo, so they aren’t producing a lot of CO2, right? They’re very proud of this equation and believe they are doing their part to slow the dangerous warming of the earth.

Bless their hearts, but could it be so? If, after all, you divide up the forested acreage of Maine by the number of residents, there is a 10-acre lot for each of us – and it might look like

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