Nature Itself Can Help Combat Climate Change, Report Says

Feb 7, 2019

The Nature Conservancy, a conservation group with programs spanning the globe, hopes that a report it compiled will help build the case for “natural” climate solutions.

One natural climate strategy: clover planted between rows of corn, which helps hold soil in place and restore soil health.
Credit Nick Peltier

The report lays out how forests, wetlands and agricultural lands can significantly drive down greenhouse gas pollution.

The Nature Conservancy also developed a carbon mapper to help people visualize the benefits of natural climate mitigation strategies.

Joe Fargione, North America Region science director, says natural climate solutions have the potential of offsetting one-fifth of the United States' current net greenhouse gas emissions.

“That’s the same as if every car and truck in the country stopped polluting the climate,” Fargione says.

The peer-reviewed study represents 21 collaborating institutions and over three dozen coauthors.

“One of the reasons we did the study is because natural climate solutions has been a forgotten solution to climate change," Fargione says. “But because the climate crisis is so urgent, we need to look at all of the possible solutions, and that should include nature.”

Tallgrass prairie at the Military Ridge Prairie Heritage Area, Iowa County helps capture carbon.
Credit Clint Farlinger

The study, Natural Climate Solutions for the United Stateswas published in Science Advances, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.  

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