Saving Land for Carbon Sequestration
Saving undeveloped land throughout our region is a crucial step in reducing the amount of carbon in our atmosphere now and into the future. Our environment has natural processes to offset carbon emissions.
Through the process of photosynthesis, plants take carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in roots, trunks, and branches. Soil also stores carbon. When plants begin to decompose, soil microbes bind carbon from leaf litter and other organic matter to certain minerals in the soil.
According to the Nature Conservancy, nature-based solutions for sequestering carbon, such as avoiding forest loss, reforestation, investing in soil health and coastal ecosystem restoration, can bring us more than a third of the way to emission reductions needed by 2030.
The USDA CarbonScapes Calculator is a tool that estimates the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent stored in plant and soil matter for each county in the United States. The carbon dioxide equivalent is the amount of carbon dioxide that would be generated if all of the stored carbon in a defined area was converted to carbon dioxide. In Benton and Washington counties, existing soil and plant matter store approximately 86,184,304 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent on forest land. This amount is comparable to the energy used by 10,778,144 homes annually.
When we protect priority conservation areas from development, restore degraded ecosystems, and work to implement best practices in agriculture, we are not only preserving the character of our community and the ecosystem services we depend on, but we are also enabling nature to help restore the balance we seek for climate stability in Northwest Arkansas.