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“Building Carbon in America’s Farms, Forests, and Grasslands: Foundations for a Policy Roadmap” offers new analysis to support long-term planning to enhance U.S. land management of carbon sinks to ensure healthy and productive landscapes contribute to greenhouse gas reduction goals.
The Chicago Climate Exchange’s Agricultural Offset Project Protocol details how continuous conservation tillage and conservation to grasslands can yield soil carbon sequestration benefits that can pay off for farmers and the environment.
Climate change impacts to grasslands and prairies include increased seasonal, annual, minimum, and maximum temperature and changing precipitation patterns. Because these ecosystems are relatively dry with a strong seasonal climate, they are sensitive to climatic changes and vulnerable to shifts in climatic regime.
Grasslands, also known as prairies, steppes, or savannas, exhibit naturally dominant grass vegetation, typically in areas where there is not enough rainfall to support the growth of a forest but not so little as to form a desert. Deserts are biomes characterized by small amounts of moisture.
Grasslands cover approximately 400 million acres of the contiguous United States.Despite their extensive distribution, grasslands and the neighboring deserts that make up more arid regions are sensitive ecosystems that can be vulnerable to extreme changes in temperature and shifts in precipitation. Land trusts are working to manage grasslands for climate change to protect the biodiversity, habitats, and ecosystem services these landscapes provide.
At Nebraska Land Trust flexible easements further long-term management objectives. As climate conditions present new management threats, it is important that conservation easements allow for the flexibility to mitigate and adapt to these impacts.
The Climate-Smart Restoration Tool provides climate-informed seed zone recommendations for sagebrush, with other species, such as bluebunch wheatgrass, set to follow.