Cattle graze next to a forest in Bakersfield, Calif.
Cattle graze next to a forest in Bakersfield, Calif. - 
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Doug Krizner: These days, financial experts look to trees as a hedge against inflation. As trees grow, so does their value. Now, this country's biggest public pension fund is investing more than $2 billion in forest projects. The California Public Employee Retirement System, or CalPERS, has adopted what environmentalists are calling a "trend-setting" policy. Sarah Gardner has more from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk.

Sarah Gardner: Under CalPERS' new policy, any forest investments it makes will eventually have to be certified "sustainable" by an independent third party. That means managed in a way that will ensure the forest's long-term survival, among other things.

Louis Blumberg at the Nature Conservancy says CalPERS' decision may inspire not only other pension funds, but the timber industry as well.

Louis Blumberg: I do think this will create another incentive for more landowners to adopt independent certification.

CalPERS and others see forests as increasingly valuable. Since forests store carbon dioxide, owners can sell carbon credits.

Joanna Durbin at Conservation International says landowners are evaluating their options in light of the rapidly growing carbon market.

Joanna Durbin: Managing them for their carbon value is an important part of the equation, in addition to or above and beyond their timber value.

CalPERS has been on the forefront of other green investment policies, including pressuring public companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

Follow Sarah Gardner at @RadioGardner