Natural & Working Lands

Natural and working lands are areas that provide food, protection, and recreation for communities; these lands include forests, croplands, grasslands, deserts, wetlands, and urban trees and open spaces. These lands also help filter clean air and water, protect against flooding, and store carbon.

This sector’s ability to store carbon is especially important as it is the only sector that removes more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits (reducing nearly 800 million tons of carbon equivalent per year, according to the World Resources Institute, or the equivalent of one year’s worth of emissions from nearly 160 million cars). States and local communities across the country are working to enhance natural and working lands’ potential for carbon sequestration through a multitude of initiatives, such as forest regeneration, expanding urban green spaces, creating urban growth boundaries, and creating land use plans to preserve existing agriculture and rangelands.

While there is great potential in this sector, increasing occurrences of wildfires and extreme storms along with expanding land development threaten the ability of these lands to sequester carbon. Because 70 percent of land in the United States is privately owned, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, working with landowners is fundamental to protecting natural and working lands.

Use General Plans to Guide Renewables Development and Reduce Climate Emissions from Fossil Fuel Use

Description: City and county Comprehensive Plans, also known as General Plans or Master Plans, are long-range plans that guide decision-making; establish rules and standards for development and improvements; and help […]

Use General Plans to Guide Renewables Development and Reduce Climate Emissions from Fossil Fuel Use Read More »

Description: City and county Comprehensive Plans, also known as General Plans or Master Plans, are long-range plans that guide decision-making; establish rules and standards for development and improvements; and help

Sequester carbon in natural lands

Description: Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has established a 1,132-acre Nature Preserve on its Rancho Seco property in southeastern Sacramento County, CA. The preserve provides long-term protection of the wetlands

Sequester carbon in natural lands Read More »

Description: Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has established a 1,132-acre Nature Preserve on its Rancho Seco property in southeastern Sacramento County, CA. The preserve provides long-term protection of the wetlands

Chicago Region Trees Initiative Master Plan

Description: Chicago Region Trees Initiative views trees as part of the city’s critical infrastructure. It has developed a Master Plan through 2050 to assure that “trees are healthier, more abundant,

Chicago Region Trees Initiative Master Plan Read More »

Description: Chicago Region Trees Initiative views trees as part of the city’s critical infrastructure. It has developed a Master Plan through 2050 to assure that “trees are healthier, more abundant,

Urban tree planting to reduce energy use

Description: In partnership with the Sacramento Tree Foundation, California’s Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) provides free shade trees to residences to help reduce energy use for air conditioning. More than

Urban tree planting to reduce energy use Read More »

Description: In partnership with the Sacramento Tree Foundation, California’s Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) provides free shade trees to residences to help reduce energy use for air conditioning. More than

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