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Happy Farmers
Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Chronicle

American Farmland Trust calls on the Biden administration to protect and conserve 30% of working farmland and ranchland to achieve 30×30

It would be helpful if you shared on social media and reached out to your representatives to say how much you support the 30 x 30 effort — and to let them know it's important that they help counter misinformation. American Farmland Trust has a good post you can read here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, American Farmland Trust released “Agriculture’s Role in 30×30: Partnering with Farmers and Ranchers to Protect Land, Biodiversity, and the Climate” outlining agriculture’s critical role in the effort to “conserve at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030” as put forth in the Biden administration’s January 27, 2021, Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. AFT’s recommendations make it clear that we urgently need to both permanently protect five percent of vulnerable working lands from being converted to development and support landowners’ voluntary efforts to implement conservation practices on an additional twenty-five percent of working lands, particularly in biodiversity hotspots, key connectivity corridors and areas with high carbon sequestration potential.

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Dolphins
NRDC website

30 x 30: NRDC’S commitment to protect nature and life on earth

This initiative provides a ray of hope into our collective efforts to conserve what has become even more important to our communities during the pandemic.

“To prevent mass extinctions and bolster resilience to climate change, scientists warn that we must protect at least 30 percent of our lands, rivers, lakes, and wetlands by 2030. At the same time, we must also fully and highly protect at least 30 percent of our oceans by 2030 to help safeguard marine ecosystems and fisheries that provide food, jobs, and cultural sustenance to billions around the world.

We have the tools to create a better, healthier future for our planet—and ourselves—but we must act now…”

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Butterflies
Yichuan Cao/Nur Photo/Getty Images

Biden enlists ranchers, tribes (and land trusts) to conserve 30% of land and water

There's a misinformation campaign ramping up, and we need your help to put it to rest. Please share articles that depict the truth about the 30 x 30 campaign, here in the U.S. It's not a land-grab. It's not all public land. It's not going to wipe out communities. Just the opposite. The vision is collaborative, voluntary, and inclusive.

The Biden administration is unveiling a plan to conserve 30% of U.S. lands and waters by the end of the decade, a top priority for environmentalists who see the initiative as a way to fight climate change and safeguard species on the brink of extinction.

“The conservation value of a particular place should not be measured solely in biological terms, but also by its capacity to purify drinking water, to cool the air for a nearby neighborhood,” or “to provide a safe outdoor escape for a community that is park-deprived,” the report says.

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Sheep For Solar

How to have your solar farm and keep your regular farm, too

We are losing farmland at an alarming rate, as noted by American Farmland Trust. Dual-use, or "compatible solar", depending on how it is designed, could help provide needed farm income AND improve soil health, sequester carbon, and diversify the operation over time. You can help promote dual-use and counter what is becoming more of a "not in my backyard" response. Solar can't just go on rooftops and parking lots and dumps. It's going to have to also go on open land. So, rather than cutting down forests, let's ensure solar installations are working with agriculture.

You may appreciate this short news clip from NPR

Clean, abundant solar power comes with a price. It requires lots of land, and in some places that’s provoking opposition from people who want to preserve farmland.

In southern New Jersey, for instance, a company called Dakota Power Partners wants to build an 800-acre solar power station, and the Pilesgrove Township planning board is hearing from local citizens who don’t like it one bit…

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Beetle Kill
Unsplash

How the climate crisis and pests are impacting four tree species in Vermont’s woods

Whether you live in the northeast or other parts of the U.S., we are seeing the impacts of climate change on our region's forests. Conserving them is part of the solution — and sharing articles like this might help people understand the importance of slowing down climate change.

The human-induced climate crisis — compounded by global trade patterns that invite non-native pests — may present the greatest challenge to forest management yet. Vermont is becoming warmer and wetter, creating conditions that benefit insects and diseases capable of wiping out a species.

While a single threat might not be enough to bring down a tree, compounding pressures can. Less-than-ideal soil conditions, for example, might stress a tree but not kill it. But that stress could make the tree more vulnerable to an insect, drought, or herd of browsing deer…

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Sun Breaking Through Trees
Unsplash

The biggest trees capture the most carbon — large trees dominate carbon storage in forests

Small-scale conservation is important too. Sometimes we forget about that. This is another approach that is worth considering in our collective efforts to slow down climate change while remembering the importance of inclusive conservation.

Older, large-diameter trees have been shown to store disproportionally massive amounts of carbon compared to smaller trees, highlighting their importance in mitigating climate change, according to a new study in Frontiers in Forests and Global Change.

Researchers examined the aboveground carbon storage of large-diameter trees (≥ 21 inches or ≥ 53.3 cm) on National Forest lands within Oregon and Washington. They found that despite only accounting for 3% of the total number of trees on the studied plots, large trees stored 42% of the total aboveground carbon within these forest ecosystems…

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Misty Forest
Unsplash

Fires are keeping Arctic forest growth from offsetting CO2 release

Increasing stress on forests, grasslands, and soils from climate change is adding up. We are going to have to significantly reduce the use of fossil fuels to allow nature to slow down climate change. While not a focus in the U.S., this is a warning sign that will impact us here, too, as the ecosystems break down.

Climate change is causing the Arctic to get greener, but those thicker forests will not help battle climate change as well as was hoped, a new study says.

Scientists believed that although the warming atmosphere is melting Arctic ice and permafrost, and therefore releasing sequestered carbon dioxide, the warmer temperatures could spur more plant growth in the same area that might be able to offset the CO2 releases…

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Loon Stretch
Ray Yeager

Changes in migratory bird patterns likely caused by climate change, study finds

So many people love birds. Explaining why slowing down climate change to help birds survive is a key way to inspire action. You'll want to help them understand that "natural climate solutions" are only part of the solution — and that moving to renewables and energy conservation is critical.

Flowering plants are blooming earlier as a result of climate change, which shifts relationships between birds and their food sources.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds, for example, are arriving at breeding grounds at a different time than the blooming of their traditional food sources. Studies show that hummingbirds are arriving earlier at their breeding grounds than in the early 1900s.

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Cow
Judy Anderson

She’s driven by soil health and pasture management

Regenerative agriculture, including rotational grazing, is increasingly seen as part of the climate solution and natural ecosystem restoration strategy. This is the sort of article you could share to help your readers understand how farmers and ranchers are working towards similar goals.

Looking out over the tidy farmstead in a valley below, Franceus talks about the ranch. Her parents bought the land in the early 1960s. “My mom sold a quarter of land in Illinois in order to purchase this place,” she says.

“It was predominantly covered in native grasses. My dad planted a pasture to crested wheat grass so that it would have some cool-season grasses for grazing. And now years later we are predominantly brome and bluegrass, which are cool-season grasses. Our biggest conservation challenge now is limiting the invasive cool-season grasses — the introduced species — and try and bring back the native grasses.”

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Girls Digging
Walton LaVonda, USFWS

Report: Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful

“A preliminary report to the National Climate Task Force recommending a ten-year, locally led campaign to conserve and protect the lands and waters upon which we all depend, and that bind us together as Americans.”

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