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Southern Plains

Carbon offset program

This three-person accredited land trust works to preserve the shortgrass prairie ecosystems of the southern Great Plains.

Southern Plains Land Trust (SPLT) has enrolled [their] two largest preserves, Raven’s Nest Nature Preserve and Heartland Ranch, under the Climate Action Reserve’s Grassland Protocol. These properties sequester over 10,000 metric tonnes of carbon annually. Sale of these carbon credits creates the ultimate feedback loop: carbon sales generate revenue for SPLT to protect more grasslands, which sequester more carbon and provide refuges for more wildlife.

This is exemplified by SPLT’s partnership with NativeEnergy: a forward sale of carbon credits on the Medford Spring Grassland Conservation area enabled SPLT to add this area to Heartland Ranch, thus increasing the size of this property from 18,000 acres to its current size of 25,000 acres…

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Ranchers And Cattle
Michael Woolsey

Saving Land magazine: Looking to the land to mitigate climate change

This article is from a 2018 issue of Saving Land magazine, a publication of the Land Trust Alliance. The topic is gaining even more traction today...

Recent reports that the planet had its hottest four years on record highlight the need for accelerated work to keep global warming below critical tipping points. While nations shift to carbon-neutral economies, Earth’s forests, grasslands, wetlands and soils can help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. “Land trust work is more vital than ever,” says Kelly Watkinson, Land and Climate Program manager at the Land Trust Alliance, “because improved conservation, restoration and land management actions enhance the capacity of natural systems to absorb and hold carbon.”

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Judy Anderson

Looking to land to mitigate climate change

Two [fairly] recent studies affirm the potential of natural ecosystems to scale back atmospheric CO2. New research published in Nature this January cites the “unexpectedly large impact” that forest management and grazing has on the planet and atmospheric carbon. “We have forgotten half of the story up to now,” lead study author Karl-Heinz Erb told The Washington Post…

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Dairy Cow
Judy Anderson

Caring for the land is caring for ourselves

Profitable farms cultivating healthy people; thriving, diverse communities; clean water, flood reduction, stable climate, and biodiversity are possible…

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Rancher With Cattle

‘Grassland 2.0’ seeks to transform Upper Midwest agriculture through perennial grasslands

With chronically low and erratic milk prices, Bert Paris has controlled dairy production costs with managed grazing. Pasture management can increase carbon in the soil, reduce run-off, and lower emissions like CO2 and N2O—greenhouse gases that need to be reduced.

Bert Paris loves dairy farming. After more than 30 years, he’s beginning to transition the farm he operates near Belleville, Wisconsin, to his daughter, Meagan Farrell, who is excited about moving her family home to run it.

Despite years of terrible headlines about the dairy industry, farmers like Paris and Farrell are bullish on dairy because, despite chronically low and erratic milk prices, they’ve controlled their production costs with managed grazing. “Grazing, financially speaking, was the best thing I’ve ever done for my business,” Paris says.

Paris is a participant in Grassland 2.0, a newly formed collaborative group based at the University of Wisconsin–Madison that is working to create more opportunities for grazing and other types of perennial grassland farming.

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Judy Anderson

50 countries vow to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030

We're going to have to do a better job explaining why this is important to the people who live here in the U.S. if we are going to get our country to join this commitment to conservation. The good news? Many states see land and water conservation as an important part of the climate solution. We can share articles like this to start...

At least 50 countries committed to protecting 30% of the planet, including land and sea, over the next decade to halt species extinction and address climate change issues, during a global summit Monday aimed at protecting the world’s biodiversity.

About 30 leaders, government officials, and heads of international organizations participated in the One Planet Summit, which was held by videoconference because of the coronavirus pandemic. Top U.S. officials were notably absent, as were the leaders of Russia, India, and Brazil…

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Hemlocks With Snow
Judy Anderson

Hope for hemlocks: New tactics found to fight deadly pest

This research has potentially far-reaching impacts for hemlocks.

Several new scientific discoveries give hope that eastern hemlocks will not go the way of chestnut, elm, and ash trees and largely disappear from forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Hemlocks are one of the most prevalent, longest-living, beautiful, and ecologically vital trees in Appalachian forests. Sometimes called the redwoods of the East, they can take 250–300 years to mature and live more than 800 years…

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Cows On Savanna
Mastodon Valley Farm video

Wisconsin farmer mimics ecosystem where mastodons and ground sloths once roamed

Regenerative agriculture is gaining traction. Rotational grazing is now discussed in different ways to connect with different audiences.

Peter Allen is taking inspiration from the oak savannas that were once widespread in the Midwest.

He says conventional agriculture depletes the soil, but this approach to raising livestock can help build topsoil and store carbon.

“We’ve grown about three inches of topsoil in six years,” Allen says. “So that’s really inspiring.” By learning from the past, Allen hopes to produce food while also preserving savanna ecosystems for the future.

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Tree Magic In The Forest
Screenshot from CODY COBB video

Why old-growth trees are crucial to fighting climate change

This is a very thoughtful story. I encourage you to listen to it, or read it. Natural climate solutions are critical to our health and wellbeing—and have a lot of co-benefits, such as cleaner water, local food, wildlife habitat, places to go and find joy, etc.

Nature is already socking away a lot of carbon for us. It could soak up a lot more—if we help. This story dives into the science behind forests and carbon sequestration.

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Solar And Flowers
Center for Pollinators in Energy

Purdue entomologist, green groups laud solar farm for native ground cover plan

Local efforts can make or break compatible renewable projects: Riverstart Solar Park, first announced in 2018, would include 670,000 photovoltaic solar panels on 1,400 acres in southwest Randolph County and produce enough energy to power about 37,000 households—the largest such project in the state. The company was waiting for the ordinance to be enacted before starting construction.

Julie Borgmann, director of Muncie-based Red-tail Land Conservancy, spoke in favor of the pollinator-friendly provisions at several meetings of county government and also collaborated with the other supporters, including the Hoosier Environmental Council.

In an interview, she noted that, while it’s taken her land trust two decades to protect 2,700 acres of land in East Central Indiana, “this single solar farm” can “really have a huge impact on habitat for bugs, birds…and it goes on down the (ecosystem) line.”

Brock Harpur, an assistant professor of entomology at Purdue, called the new ordinance “a massive step forward for pollinator conservation in this state”…

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