Natural Areas

Climate Change & Conservation eNews

Natural Areas

Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership

Grant for climate resilience outreach, education

This initiative also protects open spaces for public enjoyment in the form of parks, trails, and hunting lands. The threats of climate change compound the need for coordinated land protection effort to ensure a vibrant Delmarva Peninsula for years to come.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy: This project, entitled “Rise and Thrive: Building Understanding and Support for Climate Action on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” is the second grant awarded to ESLC’s coastal resilience program by the Rauch Foundation in as many years.

The purpose of this project is to directly engage public and private audiences in order to build regional public support for climate adaptation solutions. The Eastern Shore of Maryland is the country’s third most vulnerable region to sea level rise, behind south Florida and Louisiana. Because of the threats of increased flooding, the loss of properties, and widespread ecological impacts, ESLC is working with communities to take action on these threats today…

Read More »
Mossy Tree Trunk
Lenkerbrook Photography

Answers in the trees

Your communications strategy needs to ground climate change in a local context, connecting to what people care about. For many, forests and woodlands are part of their sense of place and identity. But you don't have to create all the stories. You and your land trust can take ideas from others and then find your own voice on the topic. Here's an example:

Columbia Land Trust (in Washington State) has been weaving climate change into its publications and outreach. Here’s an example:

“There are two ways to restore some semblance of balance to the carbon cycle: reduce emissions from fossil fuel use and increase the carbon-absorbing power of forests and other plant-rich landscapes.

Both methods are needed. We call the latter approach a ‘natural climate solution.’

Forests, especially the verdant, fast-growing forests of western Oregon and Washington, already provide a number of benefits even before taking carbon storage into account, including wood products, forestry jobs, world-class recreation, wildlife habitat, and clean air and water. ‘People manage forests for multiple purposes,’ says Lydia Mendoza, conservation lead with Columbia Land Trust. ‘Carbon sequestration is one of many crucial values that forests can provide.’ Leveraging the carbon-sequestering power of forests involves balancing values and evolving as we learn…’

Read More »
Kennebec Land Trust
Brian Kent | Kennebec Land Trust

Sustainability and climate change initiatives

Increasingly, land trusts are recognizing that the public expects an authentic, integrated approach. Small land trusts can help connect the dots in a big way.

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…

Read More »
Coastal Maine
COURTESY / BRIDGET BESAW, MAINE COAST HERITAGE TRUST

Coastal access, climate change key as Maine Coast Heritage Trust turns 50

Maine Coast Heritage Trust is increasingly talking about climate change to people from all walks of life. They are using personal stories and examples to help connect with shared values, and people are responding in a positive way.

Land conservation efforts by the organization have increasingly taken community strength and health into account, as much as the environment, and conservation’s overall impact on the state’s economic foundation. As the climate changes, that focus is more important than ever, he [Tim Glidden, president of Maine Coast Heritage Trust] said…

Read More »
Vermont Forest Carbon
Vermont Forest Carbon Report

Quantifying carbon stocks on conserved land

Carbon market participation will not work for everyone or everywhere. It will work best through project aggregation of properties that are medium (several hundred acres) to large (>1,000 acres) in size, well-stocked, and managed—and where the potential to provide co-benefits that are attractive to buyers in the voluntary market is greatest. Your land trust may also benefit from tracking the development of "aggregated" lands to meet acreage requirements and see how you could replicate it in your area.

Carbon project development in Vermont is compatible with, and in fact would be aided by, participation in other forest stewardship programs. These include forest certification, cost-share by EQIP and the Forest Legacy Program, and Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal (UVA) Program (also known as Current Use).

All three major certification Vermont Forest Carbon: a market opportunity for forestland owners 4 systems in the U.S. (Forest Stewardship Council [FSC], Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and American Tree Farm System) can be employed to meet various requirements under CARB and the voluntary markets, such as the need to have a comprehensive forest management plan…

Read More »
Sustainable Solutions
Forterra

Sequestering carbon and enhancing our local landscapes

How are you working with local community groups, businesses, and partners to ramp up climate change impacts? You may have to restructure activities to meet social distancing and safety requirements until there is a Covid-19 vaccine, but land trusts are being creative.

Last year, almost 50 businesses and individuals offset their carbon footprints with ECC [Evergreen Carbon Capture] by planting 4,038 conifer trees, which will absorb 20,190 tons of CO2 over the next 100 years. Though only a drop in the bucket compared to what our native forests were once capable of, every tree planted and cared for provides a myriad of benefits like wildlife habitat, and improved water and air quality, which bring our landscapes one step closer to the ecological function of their pasts.

ECC offers the unique opportunity for partners to join our tree planting efforts at volunteer work parties. This year our field partners from Adopt-a-Stream FoundationDirt CorpsForterraFriends of the Burke Gilman TrailGreen Kirkland PartnershipGreen Redmond PartnershipGreen River CoalitionGreen Seattle Partnership, and Stewardship Partners led 11 events for 367 volunteers to plant trees throughout the Puget Sound region, from Auburn to Marysville….

Read More »
© Ron Leonetti

A natural path for U.S. climate action

When it comes to the impact and potential of land management on global warming, everything really is bigger in Texas. Unless you’re talking about agricultural lands—then everything is bigger in Iowa. Or if you’re talking about the impact of urban trees, that’s biggest in Florida—though it’s also pretty big in Texas.

Across the United States, in fact, land management can have a really big effect on the climate. A new study examines the country’s potential to implement natural solutions—such as growing taller trees, improving soil health, protecting grasslands and restoring coastal wetlands—to increase carbon storage and reduce greenhouse gas pollution.  Essentially, turbo-charging nature to address global warming, while also providing natural benefits for people, water and wildlife…

Read More »
Farmland
Land Trust of Santa Cruz County

Watsonville Slough Farm

Land trusts own farms and ranches throughout the country for a wide variety of reasons. Leveraging these lands to inspire others through education, recreation, and direct farming/ranching is central to the work of many land trusts.

In 2009, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, CA completed the acquisition of 442 acres of farmland and wetlands at the heart of the Watsonville Sloughs. In 2010, the Land Trust acquired another 45 acres, and in 2011 an additional 4 acres.

Now, the land trust’s Watsonville Slough Farm does double duty: it produces an amazing amount of vegetables and strawberries and the restored grasslands around the farmed areas [which] capture an amazing amount of carbon, one way to reduce the greenhouse gases that are a cause of climate change.

The farm produces enough vegetables to serve 30,000 people, and enough strawberries for those 30,000 people to also get their recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, every day of the year!

The farm is hilly, however, and surrounded by wetlands. The land trust therefore retired the steepest ground and the wettest. The growers who lease on the farm were happy to give up this marginal ground, as it was expensive to farm. It is on this retired farmland that they are taking advantage of a great opportunity to capture carbon…

Read More »
Light Through The Canopy
Mass Audubon article

Capturing carbon in Mass Audubon forests

“Mass Audubon is committed to fighting climate change through conservation, advocacy, and education. And we are always looking for innovative ways to make a real and lasting impact. Our recent entry into the California Air Resources Board (CARB) carbon offset market is a prime example.

Establishing a price on carbon is an effective way to harness economic pressure to force carbon emissions reductions, but no policy has yet been implemented at the federal level. The best model is California’s comprehensive carbon emissions reduction campaign, which includes a cap-and-trade program for industries…”

Read More »
Footbridge In The Woods
Mass Audubon article

The role of land conservation in fighting climate change

In the coming year, your land trust can help people connect the dots to what they love and how climate change puts it at risk. You then want to help them see solutions. Often these will be natural climate solutions (estimated at 21% of the needed response—if we act fast), including personal actions, as well as policies for energy conservation and renewables.

At Mass Audubon, [their] land conservation strategy is directly linked to climate change mitigation and adaptation. As the largest private land owner in Massachusetts with more than 38,000 acres protected, [they] know how critical land conservation and effective land management is in the age of climate change.

[Their] recent entry in the California Air Resources Board (CARB) carbon offset market ensures that 10,000 acres of forested land will be protected for the next 100 years, ensuring the carbon stored in this critical landscape remains there…

Read More »