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Group Hopes Health Care Can Help Save Forests

A conservation group is trying to save forest land by helping private timber owners pay for health care.

The Pinchot Institute surveyed people across the country who will inherit forest land and asked them what would cause them to sell off the family forest.

The top response was having to pay unexpected medical bills.

Pinchot has partnered with the insurance company Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield. Their proposal would have carbon traders invest directly in health care plans and community health services for private forest owners.

Catherin Mater is with the Pinchot institute.

Catherin Mater: “We  do have carbon investors on board who have indicated that they are interested in this, they want to move to the next phase on this.”

Landowners would need to get their forests certified as sustainable to participate.

A pilot project could start soon in Columbia County. The Pinchot institute will meet with interested forest owners and investors in Vernonia Thursday evening.