puffin in flight

Climate Change & Conservation eNews



Largest urban forest carbon credit purchase to support conserving land

As land trusts work to slow down climate change, carbon credits are now part of the strategy. Ensuring that they are well-designed and applied appropriately is more important than ever.

The largest urban forest carbon credit sale in the nation, as of 2021, will support land conservation in the southwestern Pennsylvania region by Allegheny Land Trust.

This significant purchase increases the capacity of the land trust to conserve and care for more crucial green space in southwestern Pennsylvania…

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The science of solar-pollinator habitat: a fact sheet

Ground-mounted solar is expected to cover 8-10 million acres as part of our collective effort to transition away from fossil fuels and significantly bring climate change into check. Pollinator-friendly solar could play an important role in biodiversity and agricultural efforts.

Land trusts and community groups can help their communities understand how the design, implementation, and management of solar fields can work to enhance biodiversity and pollinators as well as farming and ranching. In this case, a recent fact sheet by the AgriSolar Clearinghouse provides useful information share.

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Land Trust of Napa Valley

Land trust works with partners to complete forest-thinning project in Angwin

Land trusts are working in partnership with local, state, and regional organizations to participate in climate-related demonstration projects and research, as well as sharing results as to how land can be managed to slow down climate change, reduce fire risk, and enhance other important goals.

The Land Trust of Napa County, California State Coastal Conservancy, Napa County Resource Conservation District (Napa RCD), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service are pleased to announce completion of a large fuels reduction and forest health project on the Land Trust’s Linda Falls Preserve in Angwin, CA.

This preserve is open to the public and many visitors come to the property to hike and see Linda Falls, a waterfall along Conn Creek.

The project involved thinning the forest across 120 acres. The thinning is aimed at both reducing the risks of wildfire along the southeast flank of the community of Angwin and increasing the resilience of the forest to fires, drought and other effects of climate change.

Angwin is one of the few areas in the hills of Napa County that has not burned in the last five years so wildfire risk reduction there is a priority for CAL FIRE, Napa Communities Firewise, and Napa County Fire…

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Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

How satellite-guided cows might save the Kansas prairie and make ranchers more money

Cattle may not boost plant biodiversity on the prairie as much as bison do, but The Nature Conservancy thinks it’s possible to manage them in ways that support healthier grassland. They are working with a Flint Hills cattle rancher near Strong City in Kansas, along with Kansas State scientists, to see how fitting a herd with GPS collars might help.

STRONG CITY, Kansas — Third-generation rancher Daniel Mushrush has 30-plus miles of barbed wire fence to tend to.

Calves wriggle beneath it. The wires get loose. Wild animals take a toll. And when streams surge after storms, rushing water often snaps sections in two.

For Mushrush and his family, the fence-mending on their Flint Hills ranch never ends. It’s inescapable.

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Climate change threatens the Great Plains, but bison may hold a key to resilience

Partnerships between tribal nations, land trusts, and universities are on the rise related to prairie management, biodiversity, and slowing down (and/or adapting to) climate change. This article touches on many of those concepts, including bison and cattle management.

“The 8,600-acre Konza Prairie Biological Station where Kansas State conducts its bison research lies in the Flint Hills, North America’s biggest remaining stretch of tallgrass prairie.

Once one of North America’s major ecosystems — covering large swaths of the Great Plains from what is today central Texas to south-central Canada — settlers and their descendants destroyed more than 95% of the continent’s tallgrass prairie for cropland and other development. Tallgrass in the Flint Hills escaped the plow only because the region’s shallow soil and rocky layers made farming less practicable there…

Bison act and eat differently than cattle do, though biologists say not all the differences are clear yet. Few studies compare these two bovine herbivores side by side.

Still, a few differences jump out. The bigger species not only eats more grass, it also spends less time along streams than cattle do and more time on hilltops…”

Cattle may not boost plant biodiversity on the prairie as much as bison do, but The Nature Conservancy thinks it’s possible to manage them in ways that support healthier grassland.

They are working with a Flint Hills cattle rancher near Strong City in Kansas, along with Kansas State scientists, to see how fitting a herd with GPS collars might help….

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Judy Anderson

Nature-based solutions funding database

You may want to share this resource with others as nature-based climate solution funding expands.

National Wildlife Federation has created an interactive database for communities interested in pursuing federal funding and/or technical assistance for nature-based solutions. You can use their filters to search for nature-based solutions funding and technical assistance resources that fit your needs. For additional information on search filters, see their Glossary page.

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© Marjo Aho from TNC

How nature can get us 37 percent of the way to the Paris Climate Target

This study by The Nature Conservancy and others is often cited as evidence that nature-based climate solutions could slow down climate change by as much as 37% worldwide.

“The last two years have seen significant global advancement on climate action, with hundreds of global businesses and national and sub-national leaders building on the momentum of the Paris Agreement to initiate new climate pledges, initiatives and funding programs. But there remains a gap between promised action and realized climate progress, and many solutions available to us now remain underutilized—especially in the land sector, which currently accounts for nearly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions…”

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German Farmer
AP News | Martin Meissner

Sweet return: German farmer gets both solar power and apples

Land trusts and farmers are interested in figuring out how agrivoltaics can help increase farm and ranch viability, soil health, and water management — and allow families to remain on their farms for generations to come.

Many of the apple trees growing beneath solar panels have been producing bountiful electricity during this year’s unusually sun-rich summer, while providing the fruit below with much-needed shade.

“The idea is simple,” said Nachtwey, whose farm lies in Gelsdorf, an hour’s drive south of Cologne. “To protect the orchard, without reducing the available growing surface and in particular maintaining production. On top of that there’s the solar electricity being generated on the same land.”

Large-scale solar installations on arable land are becoming increasingly popular in Europe and North America, as farmers seek to make the most of their land and establish a second source of revenue.

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Farm And Clouds
Mississippi Valley Conservancy

Mississippi Valley Conservancy: Climate change

There are land trusts like the Mississippi Valley Conservancy that are working to share stories of how solar can become farmer-first, rather than a detriment to farming.

Together, we can make a difference

What is it about the Driftless area you love? Is it the foggy mornings overlooking the valley? Or going fishing with your family in the spring? Perhaps it’s the sounds of migrating sandhill cranes and the call of the spring peepers.

Too often we think of climate change as occurring on a global scale or something that will happen in the future. Yet climate change already is causing profound changes with damaging effects to the land and water you love. Wildlife habitat, lakes and streams, and farmland, right here in the Driftless Area, are at risk as never before.

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Judy Anderson

New England’s climate imperative: our forests as a natural climate solution

Land trusts across the country are working to conserve woodlands and forests, while communicating the importance of woodland management and protection for the climate.

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
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