Assessing the Effects of Management Activities on Biodiversity and Carbon Storage on Public and Private Lands and Waters in the United States
Natural and working lands (NWLs) provide many benefits to people, including storing greenhouse gases (GHGs), supporting biodiversity, and generating other ecosystem services. Management of NWLs can influence their condition and function and therefore the benefits they provide. This project surveys the synthesis literature to assess how management actions on various types of NWLs affect biodiversity and GHG outcomes. This information can help to determine how to best manage these lands to contribute to both biodiversity and climate solutions in the United States.
This analysis of coastal habitat policy in six US states—California, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington—aims to identify promising policy approaches for improved protection and restoration of oyster reefs, mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass.
Natural and working lands—forests, wetlands, coastal, and agricultural lands—provide many benefits, including supporting key economic sectors, enhancing community resilience to hazards such as fires and floods, and contributing to climate mitigation by storing large amounts of carbon. This guide is aimed at states interested in developing plans for conserving, managing, and restoring these lands to preserve and enhance their benefits. The guide uses examples from North Carolina’s recently completed Natural and Working Lands Action Plan to walk through the planning process, helpful resources, and the tracking of plan implementation.
As the climate changes, marshes on the Atlantic coast will migrate inland and cause even more carbon to be released into the atmosphere, a new modeling study finds. Researchers developed a spatial model for predicting habitat and carbon changes due to SLR in six mid-Atlantic U.S. states likely to face coastal habitat loss. The modeling runs looked at land changes in coastal areas through the year 2104 in scenarios that predict intermediate sea level rise. In 16 out of the 19 runs of the model, inland marsh migration converted land from a net carbon sink to a net carbon source.
Across the U.S., states are developing policies and programs to help promote forest-based natural climate solutions. This effort is bolstered by a growth in forest carbon programs that aim to make entry into the voluntary carbon offset market accessible to all landowners. Here we present a “menu” of policy and program options (that we call action items) derived from existing state programs and policies that decision makers can leverage to promote forest carbon solutions.
Tracking the Benefits of Natural & Working Lands in the United States: Dataset Evaluation and Readiness Assessment
Natural and working lands (NWL) in the United States provide many benefits, including food, climate mitigation, recreational opportunities, jobs, and many more. There is currently no coordinated approach in the United States to track how provision of these benefits is changing over time. This project begins to fill this gap by identifying datasets that can be used to track the status and trends of NWL benefits (i.e., ecosystem services), assessing their readiness for use in the near-term, and highlighting data gaps and limitations that need to be addressed for a national assessment.
Fixing Financial, Economic and Governance Structures to Save Forests and the Ocean, and Enhance Their Contributions to Climate Change Solutions
Forests and the ocean are vital for climate, biological diversity, and human communities, but they are degraded and their ecosystem services are seriously impaired, mainly because financial, economic and governance structures are misconfigured. We propose that G20 help strengthen the REDD+ climate instrument for forests and extend it to Blue Carbon1 from coastal and marine ecosystems. Scaled up to cover the Earth’s two largest, most diverse and most productive ecosystems, these two approaches can deliver significant economic and climate benefits.
This Phase II report of the GEMS project identifies metrics available to monitor the social and economic outcomes of a wide variety of coastal projects funded in the Gulf, using ESLMs to illustrate how these projects’ impacts cascade through the biophysical system to result in social and economic outcomes. Phase II expands the focus to assess socioeconomic metrics for 16 coastal project types, including habitat restoration, recreational enhancement, and water quality improvement projects.
Exploring the Use of Ecosystem Services Conceptual Models to Account for the Benefits of Public Lands: An Example from National Forest Planning in the United States
A shared understanding of the benefits and tradeoffs to people from alternative land management strategies is critical to successful decision-making for managing public lands and fostering shared stewardship. This study describes an approach for identifying and monitoring the types of resource benefits and tradeoffs considered in National Forest planning in the United States under the 2012 Planning Rule and demonstrates the use of tools for conceptualizing the production of ecosystem services and benefits from alternative land management strategies.
Ecosystem accounts, as formalized by the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Experimental Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA EEA), have been compiled in a number of countries, yet there have been few attempts to develop them for the U.S. We explore the potential for U.S. ecosystem accounting by compiling ecosystem extent, condition, and ecosystem services supply and use accounts for a 10-state region in the Southeast. The pilot accounts address air quality, water quality, biodiversity, carbon storage, recreation, and pollination for selected years from 2001 to 2015.