A growing number of businesses from as far away as California may be investing in Maine’s woods to address climate change.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide – and larger trees mean more of the greenhouse gas is locked away. According to a report in the Press Herald, in an effort to head off global warming, California and two Canadian provinces are requiring some companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or purchase carbon “offsets” in order to comply with government limits.

The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit forest landowner, hopes to connect those companies with the vast Maine woods in a way that could benefit both.

The Conservancy has agreed to manage 124,000 acres along the St. John River between Maine and Quebec as essentially a “carbon storage bank” for the next century. The conservancy gets paid for allowing trees to grow longer – and taller – on their lands by companies that purchase carbon offsets. At the same time, older and better-managed trees should ultimately yield higher-quality lumber when the time comes to harvest them, according to Nature Conservancy staff.

Maine’s 17 million acres of forestland – covering 89 percent of the state, the highest in the nation – and the soils beneath them are storing an estimated 2.5 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s most recent figures. The only northeastern state to rank above Maine in total forest carbon storage is New York, which has a land mass more than 50 percent larger than that of the Pine Tree State.

The idea behind carbon regulatory programs is that companies that emit greenhouse gases must either reduce emissions or pay to offset that greenhouse gas pollution elsewhere.

See full report here.