puffin in flight

Climate Change & Conservation eNews


Rooftop Solar

Solar workshop series

Land trusts are realizing that transitioning to solar in a manner that is compatible with agriculture, structures, and disturbed land, is part of their conservation work. They don't have to be experts. Rather, they can tap into other organizations and leaders, and run or sponsor programs — like this land trust has done.

While this workshop is over, you can get a sense of what they are helping to amplify. The following is from their announcement:

Solar workshop series comes to southern Maryland: If you’re interested in using solar electricity to power your home, farm, or business, then please join an upcoming session of the University of Maryland’s “Solar Workshop Series.”

University of Maryland Extension Specialists and industry representatives will discuss the opportunities, challenges, and practical applications for using solar power. Each workshop will address important factors that will help you decide if solar is right for you and how you can install a solar electric system that meets your needs…
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Saving Our Swamps [Letter in the New Yorker Magazine]

Taking the time to reinforce ideas in the public realm is important if we are going to change people's perceptions of climate solutions. It's not easy getting published. Often you have to respond quickly, which means paying attention to what's going on around you and reserving time to be nimble.

Here you will find a short letter submitted by the land trust’s executive director, under the heading “Letters respond to Annie Proulx’s piece about swamps” (and beavers as part of the climate solution):

The dewatering of North America that Proulx describes was underway well before the nineteenth century, when westward expansionists began cutting down forests and farmers began draining and tilling fields. By the time those people were “reclaiming” land for their use, fur traders had been wreaking havoc on our wetlands for almost two hundred years, through the commodification of beavers…

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Judy Anderson

Passage of historic Inflation Reduction Act bill supports land trust work

Research clarifies that people need to hear from those they trust. That's why it's important to talk — and write — about how climate funding will help enhance and improve peoples' lives, close to home.

The Inflation Reduction Act is landmark climate legislation that has the potential to reduce U.S. emissions by 40% by 2030, helping to reduce carbon in our atmosphere and buffering human and natural communities from the worst effects of climate change.

The IRA will fund critical Farm Bill conservation programs: land trusts and the landowners they work with will have access to an additional $1.4 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program to be allocated across four years, and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program will be increased by $4.95 billion during that period.

The Conservation Stewardship Program ($3.25 billion) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program ($8.45 billion) will also receive huge investments, and there is $1 billion in technical assistance for landowners who use these programs to reduce climate-related emissions…

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Judy Anderson

Addressing climate change as a strategic priority

Land trusts are increasingly considering how climate change mitigation is part of their core mission, including how they can serve those who haven't had a lot of direct benefit from conservation in the past (DEIJ).

“Land conservation is a powerful tool that influences both natural and human-built environments and systems. Now in its 35th year, Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) manages 8,000 acres of land, 32 miles of recreational trails, and accommodates over 60,000 annual visitors. These lands and trails support a range of ecological and economic services including carbon sequestration, habitat for wildlife, and drinking water protection.

“Since 1987, LELT has helped communities overcome land-use challenges at a local level. Indeed, LELT’s conservation work has been made possible by grassroots, community-supported efforts to protect and secure access to this region’s most beloved natural resources. But we are now learning, and witnessing, that local conservation efforts can influence how communities grow, adapt, and respond to threats and needs at a regional and global scale…”

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Rivers Edge
Judy Anderson

Conservation in a changing climate

Linking the challenge of climate change to what people see, feel, and care about at the local level is important. Being honest about the degree to which natural climate solutions can help is critical. The Monadnock Conservancy is hosting its annual meeting on September 9th. The talk will be recorded.

“Our annual event continues a long-held tradition of gathering once a year to listen to an informative, engaging, and inspiring speaker and hear the latest Conservancy news. Light refreshments will be served, with time to mingle.

“Following a presentation of the past year’s accomplishments and awards, New Hampshire Public Radio’s Mara Hoplamazian will give the keynote address. Watching the Climate Change: A Reporter’s Notebook will explore the transitions Granite Staters are facing as our climate changes and how they balance tough realities with hope. Mara reports on climate change, energy, and the environment for NHPR, part of their By Degrees initiative…”

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Judy Anderson

Protect your woodlands

Woodland conservation can be part of the climate solution. Yet how do you talk to landowners about it? Vermont Land Trust does a nice job.

“Over 75% of Vermont’s land is forested, and much of that land is privately owned, often by families and individuals. Conserving these forests matters a great deal for our climate, our economy, and our communities. If you own woodland and want it to remain forested, conservation is one option you could consider. We can help you explore your options and guide you through the process…”

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Carbon Credit
Peter J Thompson

Featuring carbon tax credits

There's a growing realization that we need to support efforts to transition off fossil fuel as soon as possible if nature, farms, and our communities are going to thrive. Land trusts are starting to convey this to their supporters and the public.

Conserving Carolina, an accredited land trust that works to conserve natural lands, community lands and trails, and farmland, is beginning to increase their climate communications and inspire greater change. In this Facebook post, they noted:

“In Canada, families are getting their first checks from carbon reductions! That’s thanks to a policy much like the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act that Conserving Carolina (and hundreds of other nonprofits) have endorsed in the U.S. This climate solution would put a price on carbon and give the money back to the American people.

Three cheers for our partners the Citizens Climate Lobby who successfully supported this policy in Canada and who are mobilizing grassroots support for it in the U.S.! Citizen lobbyists are the heart of this campaign. If you want to be a part of the solution, find your local chapter of CCL and get involved.”

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Conservation Conversations: Pacific Northwest prairies and climate change

Capital Land Trust has been tapping into new ideas in conversations with experts.

Prairies in the western Pacific Northwest are critically endangered ecosystems. Join ecologists Paul Reed and Sarah Hamman for a discussion about how they may be affected by climate change and how they are being restored to the landscape.

Paul Reed is a postdoc at the University of Oregon, where he also completed his Ph.D. in 2021. For his dissertation, Paul and colleagues conducted an experiment across western Oregon and Washington, including at Capitol Land Trust’s Tilley West Preserve, to understand how warming and drought affect Pacific Northwest prairies. Much of his work is in collaboration with regional stakeholders and is motivated by a common vision to improve native prairie conservation and restoration in a changing climate.

Sarah Hamman is the Director of Science for Ecostudies Institute. Her work is aimed at researching and restoring rare species habitat in Pacific Northwest prairies and oak woodlands using rigorous science and collaborative conservation principles. In this virtual event, we hear from Paul about the Heating of Prairie Systems (HOPS) experiment that he and others conducted at Tilley West Preserve.

We will also learn from Sarah about prairie restoration efforts in the South Sound region, and how plant responses to climate change may affect local prairie management in the future.

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Mousam Way Land Trust

Assisted migration project

Given the pace of climate change and extreme weather, many plants/trees will likely need assisted migration.

The following is an excerpt from their website:

“Continued climate warming will disrupt our forests and their ability to lessen the impact of high CO2 levels. We will lose our cool adapted evergreens and hardwoods which, in turn, will change the nature of the forest and everything in and around it. The Mousam Way Land Trust is initiating a project to plant warm-adapted southern tree species on our reserves in anticipation of this radical change.  In time these southern replacements will become part of the forest and restore some balance.

You are invited to help us go one step farther by planting these replacements in your own landscape from which they will eventually spread…”

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Misty Tree

Assisted migration

Given the pace of climate change and extreme weather, many plants/trees will likely need assisted migration. Check out this information on the U.S. Forest Service website. I'll be posting more research on this topic, too.

Trees are adapted to specific combinations of environmental and climatic conditions that allow them to grow, thrive, and reproduce. Climate change is already altering conditions across the planet, and changes are expected to continue in the decades to come. The rapid pace of climate change may exceed the ability of many species to adapt in place or migrate to suitable habitats, and this fundamental mismatch raises the possibility of extinction or local extirpation. Assisted migration, human-assisted movement of species in response to climate change, is one management option that is available to address this challenge. This topic page will examine some of the scientific background and management considerations related to assisted migration, focused primarily on tree species.

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