Natural Lands - the magazine of Natural Lands spring-summer 2020 issue - Page 6

4 changing climates. natural solutions. 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.