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Meadowlark
Robert Harwood/Audubon Photography Awards

Innovative bill would promote regenerative ranching in California

National Audubon is working to promote land management that benefits farmers, ranchers, and wildlife, and that slows down climate change. How might your land trust work to support farming and ranching, as well as climate reduction practices? Has your state considered something like this?

The program would encourage regenerative agricultural practices similar to those promoted by Audubon’s Conservation Ranching initiative (ACR). The program partners with ranchers to adopt techniques including rotation of pastureland and limited use of feeds other than grass itself. The practices allow a variety of native grasses, with their extensive root systems (a potent carbon sink), to grow and thrive by allowing grasslands to rest and recover.

That, in turn, provides habitat for imperiled grassland birds, whose numbers have declined by 50 percent over the past 100 years. In return, ranchers participating in ACR can brand their meat with Audubon’s “Grazed on bird-friendly land” seal, earning up to $2 per pound more for their premium, grass-fed products…

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Climate
CTNC

Building more resilient human and natural communities

Land trusts are increasingly connecting the dots on how climate change is impacting their communities—and working to provide authentic solutions.

Stronger storms, increased rainfall, and periodic droughts are all part of our new normal. Conservation Trust for North Carolina is rising to the challenge our changing climate brings by partnering with affected communities to identify ways that healthy lands can better support and protect people. Including land conservation in larger plans for reducing the carbon output of our state and lessening impacts to communities, we can build a resilient North Carolina.

Conserving land for climate resilience is a top priority for all North Carolinians. Informed by climate science data, we know that taking steps to protect highly resilient property along the Blue Ridge Parkway is valuable to communities long into the future, even as natural areas, wildlife habitat and species change in response to the climate. We are ready to take this purposeful approach….

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Canyon And River
CBS News

70 bipartisan mayors commit to conserving 30% of U.S. lands by 2030

There's another piece of good news: it was announced yesterday that 70 bipartisan mayors committed to conserving 30% of U.S. lands by 2030.

“Seventy of the nation’s mayors have endorsed a campaign dedicated to conserving 30% of America’s lands, waters and oceans by 2030, an effort dubbed the 30×30 initiative.

The mayors represent 29 states, and Washington, D.C. Most serve in a nonpartisan or independent office, while 21 are Democrats and four are Republican. Cities represented include Chicago, Miami-Dade County and Phoenix…”

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Loggerhead Shrike
Roger Baker/Audubon

Protocols for bird-friendly habitat management certification

National Audubon is working to promote land management that benefits farmers, ranchers, and wildlife, and that slows down climate change. How might your land trust work to support farming and ranching, as well as climate reduction practices? Has your state considered something like this?

Audubon and its partner ranchers employ a variety of tactics to manage the land upon which cows graze. Together, these tactics are what leads to Audubon’s certification that certain beef products are produced with bird-friendly land-management practices

To get certification, ranchers follow a set of program standards in four areas: habitat management; forage and feeding; animal health and welfare; and environmental sustainability…

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Upland Sandpiper
Lucy Britton/Audubon Dakota

What in the world is conservation ranching?

National Audubon is working to promote land management that benefits farmers, ranchers, and wildlife, and that slows down climate change. How might your land trust work to support farming and ranching, as well as climate reduction practices? Has your state considered something like this?

“Wild bison were unwitting conservationists. As they roved the Great Plains, snacking here, trampling there, the hefty mammal carved diverse plant landscapes for any species’ nesting, mating, or hunting requirements. When humans substituted these shaggy ungulates for cows, the territory transformed. Without guidance, cattle mow fields to a single height and encourage only a couple plants to rebound. Few birds thrive in this monotony…”

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Green And Red Forest
Bob Berwyn

Many overheated forests may soon release more carbon than they absorb

New research suggests that, sooner than expected, trees may become carbon sources rather than carbon sinks, as a negative feedback loop of rising temperatures drives them to release more greenhouse gases.

New research shows that Earth’s overheated climate will alter forests at a global scale even more fundamentally, by flipping a critical greenhouse gas switch in the next few decades. The study suggests that, by 2040, forests will take up only half as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they do now, if global temperatures keep rising at the present pace.

The study, published Wednesday in Science Advances, analyzed more than 20 years of data from about 250 sites that measure the transfer of carbon dioxide between land and plants and the atmosphere—the way the planet breathes. Forests and the rest of Earth’s land-based ecosystems take up about 30 percent of human carbon emissions, so any big change in that process is important…

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Cactus Wren
Gaetan Dupont/Audubon Photography Awards

How desert birds can survive with very little water

This brief and interesting audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of the National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide. It might be fun to check it out.

In the desert Southwest, summer temperatures sizzle, rising well over 100 degrees. And in some parts of the desert, there is not a drop of water for miles.

Yet some birds thrive in this scorching landscape. Here a Black-throated Sparrow sings from a thorn scrub. Now, a Cactus Wren announces itself atop a barrel cactus. And neither will be flying miles every day to the nearest source of water. So how do they survive?

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Juneau
Unsplash

Juneau’s climate change solutionists: preserving wetlands and peatlands with Koren Bosworth

If you're looking for ways to weave climate change solutions into conversations, this is a good example. Notice the conversational tone. You want to avoid jargon (technical terms) as much as possible—and use local examples.

While the rest of the world celebrated World Wetlands Day on February 2nd, we in Juneau might wonder if every day is wetlands day, especially when venturing off a developed trail.

We are lucky for it. Our spongy ground might be inhospitable to tromping and building, but it performs a service arguably more important than recreation or development: carbon sequestration.

Juneau’s peatlands and wetlands are carbon sinks, complex biomes that trap carbon in an anaerobic environment, slowing the decomposition of organic material. Coastal wetlands can store five times as much carbon as a tropical forest over time; peatlands store ten times more carbon than other kinds of ecosystems…

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White And Green Forest
Unsplash

Study: How close are we to the temperature tipping point of the terrestrial biosphere?

The following new research suggests that, sooner than expected, trees may become carbon sources rather than carbon sinks, as a negative feedback loop of rising temperatures drives them to release more greenhouse gases.

This study, published Wednesday in Science Advances, analyzed more than 20 years of data from about 250 sites that measure the transfer of carbon dioxide between land and plants and the atmosphere—the way the planet breathes. Forests and the rest of Earth’s land-based ecosystems take up about 30 percent of human carbon emissions, so any big change in that process is important…

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Sunbeam Over Grassland
Native

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…”

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