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 brings 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 is leading a NWL subcommittee on floodplains and wetlands and coordinating development of a recommendation for coordinated buyouts and restoration in frequently flooded areas. We are also supporting development of coastal habitat recommendations. These recommendations will be part of the Natural and Working Lands report expected to be released in spring 2020.
The Institute is also conducting 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 will be included in the NWL report, and data and maps will be made available in several formats, including as downloadable datasets and StoryMaps, starting in early 2020. This information can be useful for targeting actions and understanding co-benefits and trade-offs at both the state and local levels. If you are interested in using these data before they become publicly available, please contact Katie Warnell.