Understanding Rural Attitudes Toward the Environment and Conservation in America

Rural Americans matter—a lot—to the fate of U.S. environmental policy. This study explores: 1) the attitudes of rural Americans toward the environment and environmental policy; 2) what accounts for the apparent rural/urban divide on attitudes toward environmental policy; and 3) whether there are alternative policies, communications strategies, or, more broadly, ways to engage rural voters and constituencies that might bridge the urban/rural divide on the environment.

Incentivizing the Reduction of Pollution at U.S. Dairies

This article examines the intricacies of environmental credit generation from concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) farm systems. This article describes the stacking problem and explores possible solu­tions, such as temporal constraints on credit issuance and discounting credits to account for additionality problems.

Mapping Ecosystem Services for the Southeast United States: Conservation and Restoration Priorities for Wild Pollinator Habitat

This methods brief focuses on wild pollination, which is beneficial to the production of many pollinator-dependent crops. This analysis maps the supply of potential wild pollinator habitat and the demand for pollination from agriculture. Spatial datasets for these priority areas and associated metrics are available on ScienceBase.

Innovative State-Led Efforts to Finance Agricultural Conservation

This report illustrates innovative, state-led programs to finance agricultural conservation that show promise to be successfully replicated in other states without similar programs. While the report focuses on state departments of agriculture, it should be noted that other divisions of state government have authorities to take on environmental challenges, to include state departments of natural resources and state departments of environmental protection.

Are There Benefits to Integrating Corporate Health and Environmental Strategies? An Exploration of the Food/Agriculture and Textile Sectors

Businesses impact environmental determinants of health and can play an important role in creating integrated approaches for promoting a healthy environment. This report describes the ways in which the food/agriculture and textile sectors affect environmental conditions that are associated with health risks and assesses how companies are tracking and addressing these interconnected issues.

Achieving the Mid-Century Strategy Goals for Deep Decarbonization in Agriculture and Forestry

The U.S. Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization, released in November 2016, calls for the United States to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. A significant portion of those reductions are to come from the forestry and agricultural sectors. Those reductions will be more difficult and more expensive to achieve if the current U.S. forest sink is not maintained and the greenhouse gas impacts of agriculture are not addressed. This working paper seeks to address those two tasks, first, by presenting a cost distribution of various climate-smart agricultural and forestry practices and an analysis of the geographic distribution of such activities in the United States, and second, by offering policy recommendations to achieve deep greenhouse gas reductions.

Indonesia's Uphill Battle Against Dangerous Land Clearance

Indonesia and its neighbors have recently experienced the worst transboundary haze episodes in their history, according to the book Pollution Across Borders: Transboundary Fire, Smoke and Haze in Southeast Asia. The chapter "Indonesia’s Uphill Battle Against Dangerous Land Clearance" explains the three major factors in these haze episodes: the palm oil and pulp and paper sectors, changing weather patterns, and policies that are not keeping up with business and environmental forces, preventing them from appreciably changing short-term conditions in Indonesian plantations. 

Fertilizer Management and Environmental Factors Drive N2O and NO3 Losses in Corn: A Meta-Analysis

Effective management of nitrogen (N) in agricultural landscapes must account for how nitrate (NO3) leaching and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions respond to local field-scale management and to broader environmental drivers such as climate and soil. This article in the Soil Science Society of America Journal reflects assemblage of a comprehensive database of fertilizer management studies with data on N2O and NO3 losses associated with 4R fertilizer N management in North American corn-cropping systems. Meta-analysis of side-by-side comparisons found significant yield-scaled N2O emission reductions when SUPERU replaced urea or UAN, and when urea replaced anhydrous ammonia. The large effects of climate and soil, and the potential for opposite reactions to some management changes, indicate that more simultaneous measurements of N2O and NO3 losses are needed to understand their joint responses to management and environmental factors, and how these shape tradeoffs or synergies in pathways of N loss.

Increasing the Engagement of Large Private Forestland Owners in Conservation Management

The involvement of large private and institutional forestland owners in conservation has been recognized as increasingly important for the successful implementation of landscape-scale conservation. However, public and non-governmental organization partners have found engagement of these landowners in conservation planning, management, and implementation to be a significant challenge. The Nicholas Institute for Policy Solutions at Duke University, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc., and the U.S. Forest Service hosted three meetings in April, September, and October 2016 to bring together leaders from each of these sectors to brainstorm approaches that could help increase the engagement of large private landowners in conservation. This paper summarizes ideas generated at these “all lands” meetings and provides a few concrete examples of conservation solutions across local and regional scales that could potentially be replicated to encourage large private landowner engagement.

Environmental Impact Investing in Real Assets: What Environmental Measures Do Fund Managers Consider?

As concerns over climate change and natural resource depletion grow, investors have begun seeking opportunities for generating both market-rate financial returns and quantifiable environmental gains. Investing with the objectives of social or environmental return is often referred to as impact investing. Measuring and reporting the environmental impact of such investing is becoming of greater interest to environmental managers and investors. This report presents findings from interviews of investment fund managers of environmental real assets—defined here as real assets that rely on ecological systems to generate cash flows (e.g., timber, agriculture, fisheries, water rights)—and offers several recommendations.