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Webinar

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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Dragonfly
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
iStock

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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Eggplant Squash Carrots
Judy Anderson

Land conservation combatting climate change

Farms and farmland can be an important part of the climate solution, but we have to understand the barriers and what's realistic. This land trust is working to find creative solutions, including supporting renewables that are compatible with farming, and tapping into federal and state funding for soil health and farming practices.

Agricultural Stewardship Association is working to position farmers and farmland as part of the climate solution. Here’s an excerpt from their website:

ASA is dedicated to helping mitigate climate change. Here’s how:

  1. We are helping farm families permanently protect the most valuable and resilient land for farming and growing food.
  2. We are educating our community about the importance of keeping land in farming and the connection with increasing resilience to a changing climate.
  3. We are partnering with other organizations to help farmers adopt soil health practices and generate renewable energy in ways that are compatible with agriculture and keep productive land in farming…
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Playground
iStock

Parks as part of the climate solution

Climate change is bearing down on the world faster than scientists predicted, making life in cities especially challenging. Densely built environments, dominated by concrete and pavement, absorb and hold heat longer than natural landscapes. They are also more prone to flooding as extreme precipitation dumps so-called rain bombs on urban areas that become inundated with dangerous — even lethal — amounts of stormwater.

As a warming planet leads to worsening risks and impacts, American cities are taking matters into their own hands. Cities are not only pledging to slash carbon emissions in the coming decades. They are also figuring out how to be more resilient. Because one thing is clear: disadvantaged communities that have been historically neglected will suffer the most as the planet warms.

Park acres, it turns out, are very good at buffering the effects of climate change. Green space has the power to lower air temperature and absorb floodwater and can be designed in such a way as to significantly enhance those climate benefits…

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Ccl
CCL

Our solution to climate change? Democracy.

Conserving Carolina says, "Three cheers for our partners the Citizens Climate Lobby who successfully supported this [carbon tax credit] 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." Check it out....

We empower everyday people to work together on climate solutions…

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Coastal Rivers
Nate Poole

Coastal Rivers takes leap towards carbon neutrality with solar array

I think you will appreciate the leadership of land trusts like Coastal Rivers, who are making it clear that an integrated approach to slowing down climate change, matters.

For those who braved mud or ice to stroll the slopes at Round Top Farm this winter, they may have spotted something shiny and new in the southwest field behind Darrows Barn.

As of Jan. 3, contractors with ReVision Energy completely installed eight rows of solar panels on a one-acre parcel at the farm and are in the process of finishing the wiring on the array. ReVision broke ground on the project in the fall.

Hannah McGhee, Coastal Rivers outreach and communications manager, said the location for the panels was selected for the minimal impact it would have on the visual landscape at Round Top for the public and abutters.

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Agrivoltaics
Flickr

Solar sharing for both food and clean energy production

Farmland without water is an increasing risk no matter where you are in the country. Corn, soybeans, vegetables, and orchards are all feeling the stress; agrivoltaics (often elevated solar) could make a difference. You might find this scientific study on agrivoltaics (with corn), interesting.

Research on the performance of agrivoltaic systems for corn, a typical shade-intolerant crop.

This article concerns research conducted at a 100-m2 experimental farm with three sub-configurations: no modules (control), low module density, and high module density. In each configuration, 9 stalks/m2 were planted 0.5 m apart. The biomass of corn stover grown in the low-density configuration was larger than that of the control configuration by 4.9%. Also, the corn yield per square meter of the low-density configuration was larger than that of the control by 5.6%.

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Hot Grass
Patty Wetli / WTTW News

Flash drought in the making, with high temps, little rain: National Weather Service

Indeed, the concept of "flash droughts" is becoming well-established. This article explains where it's already happening.

The recent heat wave, coupled with lower than normal precipitation, has produced conditions ripe for what’s known as a “flash drought” in the Chicago area, according to the National Weather Service.

The 10-day outlook shows odds leaning toward a continued dry spell.

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Warming Us
The Washington Post

Summer in America is becoming hotter, longer and more dangerous

This recent article speaks to what so many of us are experiencing right now — talking about how summer is becoming more hazardous because of extreme heat and related weather challenges. For those who can relocate or "summer" in cooler and more stable weather, it's an inconvenience. For others, it can be much more devastating.

Wildfires had been burning for weeks, shrouding Reno, Nev., in harmful smoke, when Jillian Abney and her eight-year-old daughter Izi drove into the Sierras last year in search of cleaner air. The eerie yellow haze that filled the sky had brought summer to an abrupt halt, canceling all of the season’s usual delights.

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