Your Local Land Trust: Fighting Climate Change, Naturally

Extreme weather events this year have sparked climate change conversations across the globe. Wildfires fill the California skies with smoke, major heat waves hit the United Kingdom and Japan, and record rainfalls have punctuated a hot New York summer with severe flooding events. With sweltering temperatures and damaging storms, many people wonder: “Is this weather caused by climate change?”

Yes. Although individual weather events cannot be attributed to climate change, these changing patterns and trends in the weather are the result of increased greenhouse gas emissions over the past two centuries and a changing climate.

The real question is: how can we fight climate change? Tackling such a global issue is a complex task, but there is hope. Your local land trust is working daily to protect landscapes which naturally sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gases, and provide climate-resilient habitats. Through the conservation of undeveloped lands, we are fighting climate change.

Carbon Sequestration

Forests are carbon sinks, and we need to protect them.

The majority of MHLC’s protected lands are forested landscapes. These forests provide habitat for wildlife and filter air and water for our communities, but they are also natural sequesters of carbon. As trees photosynthesize, they trap carbon from the atmosphere in their tissues. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and creates four tons of oxygen – enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.” Forests are carbon sinks: by protecting them, we slow climate change by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Climate Resilience

By strategically planning our conservation, we can better protect the lands which will store carbon and which will help our ecosystems survive an already-changing climate. To date, we have protected more than 5,000 acres, with many more acres to be announced in the coming weeks.

Along the Bozen Kill. Photo by Kathy Meany.

We prioritize our land projects based on several Conservation Criteria, including climate resilience. When we use the term “resilient,” we are referring to the ability of a landscape to support a variety of plants and animals in a changing climate. The Nature Conservancy has been studying resilience for over a decade and has created mapping tools which MHLC uses to examine our service area through a lens of resilience. Resilient areas often have steep topography and water features which create natural cooling: our work in the Bozen Kill Conservation Corridor is a great example of protecting a resilient landscape.

Act Locally For Global Impact

Our conservation work is more important than ever. By supporting MHLC, you are strengthening our ability to protect local, resilient lands and to store carbon in the fight against climate change. To donate, click here.

To learn more, visit our MHLC, Conservation, and Climate Change page.

 

 

 

Sarah Walsh
Conservation Director

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