Natural Lands - the magazine of Natural Lands spring-summer 2020 issue - Page 6
Climate change has often been thought of as a
problem of the future. However, it is already impacting
the land that Natural Lands cares for and the wildlife
those lands support. At our Glades Wildlife Refuge,
sea-level rise and salt-water intrusion threaten oldgrowth
trees and the preserve itself. Globally, bird
populations have declined dramatically for a number
of reasons, including warmer climates.
The sad truth is that some of these impacts may be
difficult to reverse. But, nature, when we conserve and
care for her, encouraging her to do her work, can be a
powerful part of the solution.
A recent study published in the Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences examined the
potential for global carbon reduction associated with
conserving and restoring forests, fields, and wetlands.
The study showed that these practices alone
could provide more than a third of the carbon dioxide
mitigation needed to reach the targets of the 2015
Paris Agreement. This represents 11.3 billion tons of
greenhouse gases between now and 2030.
Natural Lands and our land conservation colleagues
across the nation play a critical role in our planet’s
climate crisis as stewards of land and land use policies.
Each year, Natural Lands preserves an average of
2,000 additional acres of open space, reducing development
and its associated carbon footprint. We have
more than 14,000 acres of forest under our management
and plant thousands of trees every year.
Conservation and restoration, both core to our
mission for nearly 70 years, become even more urgent
and impactful in the face of climate change, offering
ways in which local, tangible action can contribute to
an immense, global challenge.