What We’re Reading

Natural climate solutions for the United States – Joe Fargione

In November, The Nature Conservancy and 21 institutional partners published a peer-reviewed study finding that nature-based solutions to climate change in the United States could offset 21% of the country’s net annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The study, Natural Climate Solutions for the United States, looked at a wide range of practices including restoration, conservation, and improved agriculture to better understand their potential contribution to offsetting GHG emissions and promoting a stable climate through increased carbon storage.

Excitingly, this study was one of the first to explore the impacts of preserving and restoring grasslands and coastal wetlands and took a holistic perspective by discussing both the GHG offsets and the multiple benefits that come from stewarding and working with natural systems such as improved water filtration and holding capacity, soil health and fertility, flood control, and wildlife habitat.

While reforestation and forest management showed some of the largest impacts, regenerative grassland and agricultural management were also demonstrated to be critical elements in an effective response to climate change.  The report is well-timed as grasslands are currently being lost in the US at a rate of over one million acres per year to development and farming releasing carbon stored in their fertile soils, destroying critical habitat, and diminishing biodiversity.

To read more, check out the full report at Science Advances.