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Sunset Over Grassland
Getty Images

Grasslands more reliable carbon sink than trees

Unlike forests, grasslands sequester most of their carbon underground, while forests store it mostly in woody biomass and leaves. When wildfires cause trees to go up in flames, the burned carbon they formerly stored is released back to the atmosphere. When fire burns grasslands, however, the carbon fixed underground tends to stay in the roots and soil, making them more adaptive to climate change…

“In a stable climate, trees store more carbon than grasslands,” said co-author Houlton, director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment at UC Davis. “But in a vulnerable, warming, drought-likely future, we could lose some of the most productive carbon sinks on the planet… We really need to start thinking about the vulnerably of the ecosystem carbon, and use this information to de-risk our carbon investment and conservation strategies in the 21st century”…

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Bird Flock Over Windmill
Arterra / UIG via Getty Images

Wind energy takes a toll on birds, but now there’s help

Given that entire species will be wiped out with climate change, when it comes to talking about the negative impact that windmills have on birds, it’s a very relative figure—one we have to keep in mind more than ever. Still, if there are ways to reduce the number of birds killed, and that’s a very positive thing.

“Researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, have hit upon what could prove to be a simple way to protect birds from wind turbines. They’ve used the “signatures” of birds that are visible in raw weather radar data to generate bird maps and live migration forecasts designed to alert wind farm operators to the presence of birds at peak times…”

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Donkey And Elephant With Mountain Backdrop
CUBoulder

Dems, GOP agree more than they think on climate change

Just how far apart are Republicans and Democrats when it comes to views on climate change?

Not nearly as far as most assume, according to new University of Colorado Boulder research that surveyed more than 2,000 adults.

“Despite what we often hear about the deep divisions between parties, we found that there is actually general agreement that climate change is real, that human activity causes climate change, and that we should do something about it,” said Leaf Van Boven, a psychology and neuroscience professor at CU Boulder and lead author of the study, published today in Perspectives on Psychological Science…

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Purple Flowers And Solar Panels
Rob Davis, Center for Pollinators in Energy

A regional land trust works to combat climate change with guidelines for building clean energy

Scenic Hudson has developed siting and design principles for renewable energy development to help stakeholders find common ground in a regional model for increased renewable energy development that also protects natural and economic resources:

  • Prioritize development on previously disturbed areas
  • Protect agricultural lands and promote co-location
  • Protect natural beauty protect ecological resources
  • Protect historic and cultural resources
  • Maintain the purpose of conserved lands
  • Avoid and minimize new transmission and distribution lines
  • Use construction and operation best practices
  • Promote sustainable renewable energy development through planning and zoning

Perhaps your land trust or community would find these guidelines helpful.

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Ginnie Peters In Her Husbands Workshop. Matt Died In 2011.
Audra Mulkern

Why are America’s farmers killing themselves?

“It is dark in the workshop, but what light there is streams in patches through the windows. Cobwebs coat the wrenches, the cans of spray paint and the rungs of an old wooden chair where Matt Peters used to sit. A stereo plays country music, left on by the renter who now uses the shop…”

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Farm Landscape

Michigan farmers, residents, praise wind power

Farmers are committing suicide in record numbers—in the US and around the world. Crop and water disasters are a major part of this, resulting in loss of income, massive debt, and unending despair. For some, “farming energy” with solar and wind, along with more traditional agricultural products, may avoid the unhappy reality of selling for development.

“For those committed to farmland conservation programs, Mills said, wind farms and wind turbines help keep farmers living on their farm lands, help attract and retain younger people, and help provide diversified funding streams…”

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Climate Giphy
Giphy

Acre for acre, urban trees can store as much carbon as tropical forest

Conserving trees in villages and urban areas here in the U.S. will help create better living environments for people and animals, and could—if managed well—help off-set carbon pollution.

“Researchers from University College London used a laser-based remote sensing method called LiDAR to build an intricately detailed 3D picture of more than 84,000 individual trees in their home borough of Camden, in northwest London. Then, based on the volumes of trunks and crowns, they calculated the amount of carbon each tree stores…”

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AUSTIN ALLRED
photo courtesy of Austin Allred

This farmer turns manure into clean water and it may be the future of farming

Austin Allred is so devoted to dairy farming that he switched over to it after growing up as a crop farmer. He now runs Royal Dairy, located in central Washington, where cows are a powerful tool in an astonishing process that creates bio-rich soil and clean irrigation water while cutting down greenhouse gases.

That’s because as much as Royal Dairy cares about what goes into the cows, visitors will quickly realize that their operation is equally concerned with what comes out of them…

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A Skeleton Of A Fish Lies Forgotten On The Dry Bed Of Lake Peñuelas Outside Santiago Chile
Eliseo Fernandez/Reuters

Accelerating extinction risk from climate change

“Current predictions of extinction risks from climate change vary widely depending on the specific assumptions and geographic and taxonomic focus of each study. I synthesized published studies in order to estimate a global mean extinction rate and determine which factors contribute the greatest uncertainty to climate change–induced extinction risks. Results suggest that extinction risks will accelerate with future global temperatures, threatening up to one in six species under current policies…”

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Windmill

Environmental impacts of wind power

Given the dire impacts on animals and plants, why is wind and solar still something that so many conservation groups fight, or down play their role in conservation?

Certainly, species extinction from climate change is picking up fast. The Union of Concerned Scientists is a nonpartisan, respected, research organization that outlines the impact of wind power and what to do about it…

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