Natural Areas

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Tree Lab
UMaine

Study finds trees vary in their recovery from drought stress, with implications for future forests

Eastern forests are also experiencing droughts, between heavy rains. New research considers the impact and how that will change over time.

With over four feet of annual precipitation in the Northeast United States, drought is not often considered a major factor affecting the region’s forests. But warming temperatures cause forests to dry out quicker between rains. Seedlings are especially vulnerable because their nascent root systems can’t access moisture deeper in the soil, according to a University of Maine-led study.

The timing of drought also affects which tree species are more vulnerable, according to the findings of the study, published in the journal Annals of Botany PLANTS

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Long Horned Cattle
Brett Deering for The NYT

A different kind of land management: let the cows stomp

This is a good story that you might share. We need farmers and ranchers more than ever — they are critical parts of the climate solution.

Adam Isaacs stood surrounded by cattle in an old pasture that had been overgrazed for years. Now it was a jumble of weeds.

“Most people would want to get out here and start spraying it” with herbicides, he said. “My family used to do that. It doesn’t work.”

Instead, Mr. Isaacs, a fourth-generation rancher on this rolling land in the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle, will put his animals to work on the pasture, using portable electrified fencing to confine them to a small area so that they can’t help but trample some of the weeds as they graze.

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The Secret Weapon to Healthier Soil

Watch this short video about covers and how they help farmers and farmland.

Cover crops, an age-old farming strategy, can help boost soil health, protect water sources, and create fields that are more resilient to climate change. Watch how…

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Tnc Vid Shot
TNC

A natural path for U.S. climate action

TNC is one of the leaders in the effort to help us mitigate a fifth of US carbon emissions through natural solutions — but the other key fact is switching from fossil fuels.

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…

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midewin national tallgrass prairie
Wikimedia

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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Grassland
Wikimedia

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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Prairie
NPS

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
iStock

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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Antelope
Flickr

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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DoeDoe
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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