Carbon

Carbon is one of the most important elements found on Earth. The carbon cycle supports all life by transferring carbon between living things and the environment. Plants take up carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen (O2) during photosynthesis, which transfers carbon to their stems, roots, and leaves as they grow. When leaves fall and decompose or when plants die, the carbon that was stored in plants is released through respiration or combustion and transferred back to the atmosphere or to the soil.

Climate change is already having an impact on ecosystems across the world, and many of these changes are expected to continue or accelerate in the future. Opportunities to mitigate atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions is driving interest in managing carbon within ecosystems, highlighting the important role forests and grasslands play in sequestering CO2 and providing a source of renewable energy. At the same time, changes in the Earth’s climate system are altering forests in dramatic ways, which can also have consequences for the emission of carbon and other greenhouse gases (Source CCRC).

Forests store or sequester a lot of carbon. Nationwide, USDA Greenhouse Gas Inventories indicate that forests, urban trees, and harvested wood account for the majority of natural sinks of carbon dioxide (USDA OCE 2016). However, trees outside of forests, including those planted…

The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) have partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a series of brochures that describe options landowners and land managers have to adapt to climate…

Increasing humidity and precipitation and rising extreme temperatures are having negative impacts across the Midwest. Integrating climate adaptation into planning processes can help build adaptive capacity to increase climate resilience. The U.S. Climate Resiliency Toolkit for…

Some content excerpted from "Carbon and Land Management" on the USFS Climate Change Resource Center and the USFS report Considering Forest and Grassland Carbon in Land Management (WO-GTR-95).   Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change by capturing carbon…

Dibaginjigaadeg Anishinaabe Ezhitwaad - A Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu and resources.   Climate change has impacted and will continue to impact indigenous peoples, their lifeways and culture, and the natural world upon which they rely, in unpredictable and potentially…

The Environmental Law & Policy Center, in concert with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, commissioned the following scientists and experts to produce this report to educate policymakers and the public about the significant changes affecting the Great Lakes, and the…

  Biochar has been used over the years throughout the world as a soil amendment, but research on its properties and potential benefits have recently gained the attention of foresters and agricultural producers. Biochar is a stable solid, rich in carbon that is made from…

Finding Opportunities Within USDA Programs to Reduce GHG Emissions and Increase Carbon Sequestration EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub (NFCH) and the Forest-Climate Working Group (FCWG) held a series of two workshops designed to identify specific…

It is important to continue to find ways to mitigate or adapt to climate change. One of the most effective strategies is to teach younger generations about taking care of the planet. At the University of Massachusetts (UMass), food is grown at five permaculture gardens. …