When managed sustainably, natural and working lands—including farms, forests, and wetlands—can store carbon, enhance community and ecosystem resilience, and provide many other social, economic and environmental benefits. North Carolina’s Natural and Working Lands (NWL) stakeholder group brought together experts from academia, environmental and community NGOs, and state government agencies, led by the Department of Environmental Quality, to develop recommendations for managing natural and working lands in the state to enhance carbon and resilience benefits.
The Nicholas Institute led a NWL subcommittee on floodplains and wetlands and coordinated development of a recommendation for coordinated buyouts and restoration in frequently flooded areas. These recommendations are part of the Natural and Working Lands Action Plan included in the North Carolina Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan.
The Institute also conducted spatial analysis to identify the geographic scope of many of the NWL group’s recommendations, the potential scale of the recommended actions’ carbon and resilience benefits, and how the recommended actions overlap with areas important for co-benefits such as improved water quality and recreational access. These results are included in the NWL Action Plan, and data and maps are available for download. The data is also summarized in a series of StoryMaps that include state-level maps and information as well as examples of using the data at local scales. This information can be useful for targeting actions and understanding co-benefits and trade-offs at both the state and local levels.