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Linking prairie carbon sequestration and other co-benefits to the voluntary carbon market

The more we understand the importance of prairies, the more our perspective can shift. It's important to remember the role prairies naturally play in trapping soil carbon. Garcia's thesis dives deep into this topic.

A research study at Midewin concluded that prairie restoration led to increased carbon stocks in degraded soils. At Midewin, new restorations contained about 1.5x more carbon than no-till row crops and remnant prairie soils contained about 3 to 4x the carbon stocks than no-till row crops. To supplement the research a literature review was conducted and based on 29 studies, perennial grasslands sequestered on averaged 1.7 metric tons of CO2 per acre per year…

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Development by design: Mitigating wind development’s impacts on wildlife in Kansas

If you aren't familiar with Osage County, you might be interested to see the amazing ecosystems that still exist there, and what we risk losing if we don't take action — now. This article talks about wind energy, and its role in this area. See what you think.

Wind energy, if improperly sited, can impact wildlife through direct mortality and habitat loss and fragmentation, in contrast to its environmental benefits in the areas of greenhouse gas, air quality, and water quality. Fortunately, risks to wildlife from wind energy may be alleviated through proper siting and mitigation offsets. Here we identify areas in Kansas where wind development is incompatible with conservation, areas where wind development may proceed but with compensatory mitigation for impacts, and areas where development could proceed without the need for compensatory mitigation.

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Last stand of the tallgrass prairie

As we watch more natural areas disappear, it's more important than ever that we push to make the switch to renewables — and let go of fossil fuels.

Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres of North America, but within a generation most of it had been transformed into farmland. Today less than 4% remains intact, mostly in the Kansas Flint Hills. Established on November 12, 1996, the preserve protects a nationally significant remnant of the once vast tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Here the tallgrass makes its last stand…

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Purple Prairie

Saving Oklahoma’s prairies, a vital weapon against climate change

I wanted to make sure you saw this article. It's hopeful and demonstrates how partnerships can make a difference. A coalition of ranchers, environmentalists, and Osage Nation landowners are working together to save the grasslands.

Oklahoma’s 39,650-acre preserve is the world’s biggest protected remnant of a massive grassland ecosystem that once stretched across 14 states, covering 170 million acres. But the grassland has been decimated, and only about 4 percent of the ecosystem remains, most of which is contained in the preserve in Osage County, home to the Native American Osage Nation.

Acting as a powerful carbon storage container, or sink, the grasslands are a vital component in nature’s fight against climate change. Figures vary, but one study estimates that tallgrass can capture up to 1.7 metric tons of carbon per acre per year. In Oklahoma alone, protected grasslands mitigate nearly four metric tons of carbon dioxide per year — the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road…

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Friday Feature: Agrivoltaics — farming under solar panels

The University of Florida Extension featured this short video explaining the positive benefits — and challenges — around elevated, dual-use solar for farm viability. We need conservation groups to start advocating for this as they do for land conservation funding and healthy soil initiatives.

With the push to seek alternative energy sources, solar farms are buying up farm land. Agrivoltaics is the combination of the two, so the land is not lost for food production. There are benefits to partial shade for crop production, such as lower irrigation requirements. The trick is to find the right mix to have both productive crop production and also adequate solar energy production. There are research projects in Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon to evaluate this opportunity that is already being utilized to some extent in Europe.

Check out the pros and cons of combining farming with solar installations…

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Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

In addition to the 30x30 plan outlined in Biden's America the Beautiful initiative, Congress is considering the Recovering America's Wildlife Act, which would allocate nearly $1.4 billion annually to states to implement habitat restoration and conservation strategies.

This bill provides funding for (1) the conservation or restoration of wildlife and plant species of greatest conservation need; (2) the wildlife conservation strategies of states, territories, or the District of Columbia; and (3) wildlife conservation education and recreation projects.

The Department of the Interior must use a portion of the funding for a grant program. The grants must be used for innovative recovery efforts for species of greatest conservation need, species listed as endangered or threatened species, or the habitats of such species.

In addition, the bill requires certain revenues generated from fees and penalties for violations of environmental requirements to be used as a source for the funding…

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Creative Commons

The dire need to combat habitat loss

This new report from the National Wildlife Federation found game species across the country lost, on average, 6.5 million acres of habitat over the past two decades. It is a trend advocates contended will continue unless lawmakers take action.

The modern conservation movement was born out of the hard work and leadership of sportsmen and women who continue to help fund, conserve, manage, and restore natural areas and game populations nationwide.

During the 1800s, the U.S. nearly lost familiar species like mule deer, white-tailed deer, black bear, elk, pronghorn, and wild turkeys to unregulated hunting and market hunting. As populations rapidly declined, hunters led the way to their recovery by supporting ethical, regulated hunting practices…

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Report: Habitat loss causing significant impact on game species

Let's remember that in addition to reducing excess climate polluting gases, floods, and extreme weather, these lands and waters provide critical habitats. Connecting around those shared benefits is important.

new report from the National Wildlife Federation found game species across the country lost, on average, 6.5 million acres of habitat over the past two decades. It is a trend advocates contended will continue unless lawmakers take action.

Per the report, between 65 and 82 million acres of America’s national forests are in need of restoration. In addition to the 30×30 plan outlined in Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative, Congress is considering the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which would allocate nearly $1.4 billion annually to states to implement habitat restoration and conservation strategies.

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Political Parties

How to talk about climate change across the political divide

Learning to focus on shared values is key to any communication strategy. This article helps.

At its root, she notes, the climate-change divide isn’t a disagreement about facts. “In a study of fifty-six countries, researchers found people’s opinions on climate change to be most strongly correlated not with education and knowledge, but rather with ‘values, ideologies, worldviews, and political orientation,’” she writes.

Solving the climate crisis will require ending our reliance on fossil fuels, which people believe would involve major sacrifice. “If there’s a problem and we’re not going to fix it, then that makes us bad people,” Hayhoe said. “No one wants to be a bad person.” So instead, people are happy to seize on excuses not to take action. Most are what she calls “science-y sounding objections, and, in the U.S., religious-y sounding objections.” Hayhoe often hears that the Earth has always heated and cooled according to its own intrinsic cycle, or that God, not humanity, controls the fate of the planet. These objections can then harden into aspects of our political identity…

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Elephant Head

Community-level assisted migration for climate-appropriate prairie restoration

Deep-rooted prairies can be one of our natural climate solutions. Yet they, too, will need assistance to thrive. Assisted migration is a topic that's getting more attention in the research community. This is a very science-y article. I think you'll find it interesting.

Given the rate of movements of “climate envelopes,” the principle of use of only locally occurring species and genotypes in habitat restoration is questionable at best. Some local species may be lost entirely if their “climate envelopes” move outside the local area.

Multiple species that grow elsewhere would thrive in restorations if they were able to migrate to new locations, but this is prevented by the speed of climate change and the difficulty of dispersal across fragmented landscapes. To restore the natural process of migration, restorations should include…

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