A 2022 report from Highstead explores how New England’s forests are an important climate solution and explores five pathways to increase forests’ impact.

New England's Climate Imperative

New England’s forests are an underrated asset in the fight against climate change, already sequestering the equivalent of 14 percent of carbon emissions across the six states and capable of much more. Through five complementary strategies, forests could sequester 21 percent of carbon emissions while also enhancing critical co-benefits such as cleaner air and water, greater recreational opportunities, and jobs.

These findings about the current and possible future climate change mitigation potential of New England’s forests are detailed in the 2022 report, New England’s Climate Imperative: Our Forests as a Natural Climate Solution, published by Highstead. The report found that while addressing climate change requires action on multiple fronts, forests are a critical area of opportunity and already play a critical role in removing carbon from the atmosphere.

In this study, five pathways are developed and assessed that could increase the climate mitigation potential of New England’s forests:

  • Avoided Deforestation
  • Wildland Reserves`
  • Improved Forest Management
  • Mass Timber Construction
  • Urban and Suburban Forests

Additional Resources

In addition to the full report, there are several documents that offer additional information related to the report.

Report Summary – A 4-page synopsis of the report’s findings.

State & New England Briefs – 2-page overviews of how the five pathways outlined in the report affect each New England State as well as New England as a whole.

Supplements – Detailed references supporting the research used in the report.

Figures – Downloadable jpegs of the figures referenced in the report.

Press Release – Overview of project for media outlets.


Spencer R. Meyer, Highstead*
Kavita Kapur Macleod, KKM Environmental Consulting
Jonathan R. Thompson, Harvard Forest, Harvard University
David R. Foster, Harvard Forest, Harvard University
Robert Perschel, New England Forestry Foundation
Nicole St. Clair Knobloch, Olifant, LLC
Jon Leibowitz, Northeast Wilderness Trust
Brian Donahue, Brandeis University
Alec Giffen, New England Forestry Foundation
Tewosret Vaughn, Highstead
Tara Whalen, Highstead
Bill Labich, Highstead
Andrea Colnes, New England Forestry Foundation
Jeanne Ammermuller, Highstead

* Current Affiliation: Natural Capital Exchange