Sequestering carbon while making breakfast sweeter
Vermont’s private forests play a key role in mitigating climate change — they store four times as much carbon as the state’s vehicles release each year. Selling forest carbon credits to companies and individuals working to reduce their carbon footprints provides a new source of income for individual landowners like Jessica Boone and Everett McGinley in Vermont’s Cold Hollows region, which helps them protect their forests. Unfortunately, carbon markets can be too costly for most owners of small forest parcels to join.
That’s why the Vermont Land Trust formed Vermont Forest Carbon LLC and teamed up with The Nature Conservancy, the Caron Dynamics Lab at the University of Vermont, and Cold Hollow to Canada, a local land stewardship and conservation organization, helping landowners overcome the cost barrier by working together as a single carbon project.
This is the first large-scale aggregated forest carbon project in the country, with fifteen neighbors teaming up to sell carbon credits from their land…
Quantifying economic and environmental benefits of soil health
Many farmers believe the scientific evidence that soil health practices improve soil and water quality. However, they are reluctant to change management techniques without knowing how much the soil health practices will cost or benefit them. So, AFT found “soil health successful farmers,” and conducted benefit-cost analyses.
The math is in: Soil health practices produce real return on investment
Our nation’s farmers and ranchers care deeply about the land. They want to use practices that improve soil health and protect water quality, like no-till or strip till, cover crops, and nutrient management.
But, farming is a business like any other. If the numbers don’t add up, it’s hard to make improvements that are good for the environment.
Any infrastructure plan also needs to invest in trees and green space
It’s up to community leaders, neighborhood organizations, nonprofits, and more to ensure that green strategies are not an afterthought but a critical foundation of any infrastructure plan introduced in Congress…
FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan
“While the American Rescue Plan is changing the course of the pandemic and delivering relief for working families, this is no time to build back to the way things were. This is the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new economy. The American Jobs Plan is an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China. Public domestic investment as a share of the economy has fallen by more than 40 percent since the 1960s. The American Jobs Plan will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the Space Race…”
30 x 30: NRDC’S commitment to protect nature and life on earth
“To prevent mass extinctions and bolster resilience to climate change, scientists warn that we must protect at least 30 percent of our lands, rivers, lakes, and wetlands by 2030. At the same time, we must also fully and highly protect at least 30 percent of our oceans by 2030 to help safeguard marine ecosystems and fisheries that provide food, jobs, and cultural sustenance to billions around the world.
We have the tools to create a better, healthier future for our planet—and ourselves—but we must act now…”
Solar siting on farmland: lessons learned from across the northeast
Are you interested in how farmland viability and solar can work together? Would you like to be able to share examples of projects that improve soil health, farm diversity, and stem the loss of farmland? You might be interested in watching American Farmland Trust Northeast’s recent webinar focusing on Connecticut policy opportunities and the various policies in the northeast.
Across the country farmland is being lost at an alarming rate: 2,000 acres of agricultural land are converted every day. With the push to transition off fossil fuels, solar development could take more out of production. But it doesn’t have to be that way. States could invest in elevated, compatible solar that could help farmers and ranchers stay in business and keep the land in production.
See what your region can glean from this webinar. There’s a window to lead on this.
Medford Spring Grassland Conservation
“Grasslands store one-third of the Earth’s carbon, and just one acre of grassland can store an estimated 50 tonnes of carbon or more. Yet, in the U.S., over one million acres of grassland are still converted each year, which has the potential to release 50%-70% of the carbon they hold as carbon dioxide (CO₂).
The Medford Spring grasslands in southeastern Colorado are facing an imminent threat of conversion to cropland given its soils are suitable for farming, and cropland rental rates for winter wheat, milo, sorghum, alfalfa, and other row crops, are more than five times pastureland rates in Bent County, CO. A permanent conservation easement will preserve the grasslands and avoid conversion of the land to farming or development. This will prevent an estimated 190,000 tonnes of CO₂ from entering the atmosphere over the next 50 years. This is the equivalent of almost 208 million pounds of coal burned…”
The Climate Action Reserve
“As the premier carbon offset registry for the North American carbon market, the Climate Action Reserve encourages action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by ensuring the environmental integrity and financial benefit of emissions reduction projects.
The Reserve establishes high quality standards for carbon offset projects, oversees independent third-party verification bodies, issues carbon credits generated from such projects and tracks the transaction of credits over time in a transparent, publicly-accessible system.
The Reserve offsets program demonstrates that high-quality carbon offsets foster real reductions in GHG pollution, support activities that reduce local air pollution, spur growth in new green technologies and allow emission reduction goals to be met at lower cost…”
Sustainability and climate change initiatives
In their most recent climate initiative, the Kennebec Land Trust Finance Committee worked with Kennebec Savings Bank Investment and Trust Services to move their investments into a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) portfolio that is aligned with their mission. SRI considers environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact.
As managers of forestland, they use and promote forest management practices that maximize carbon sequestration, including: protecting soil carbon, where about 50% of the carbon inventory is typically stored on a forested acre; promoting native species and increasing plant diversity to improve forest resiliency and carbon storage; harvesting sustainably; and taking a long-term view by growing high-value and larger diameter trees. On the ground, their forestry days at the Curtis Homestead are teaching the next generations…