Soil carbon sequestration study begins

Public lands as carbon sinks ?

We’ve spoken of the potential for our public lands to act as carbon sinks.

When you think about public lands and the value that these places have to serve our efforts to curb global climate change I’d like you to consider a new idea that is as old as dirt ~ passive restoration. Yes, I’m suggesting that part of the answer might be to remove our footprint on those places we can – and in doing so – let the land catch it’s breath.

Just as trees draw CO2 out of the atmosphere, so does the life of soil and other healthy plant communities.  In fact, even in places as arid as the Mojave desert, researchers have found that healthy, undisturbed living-soils may draw as much carbon out of the atmosphere as temperate forests !  Can you imagine ? Resting the land from soil disturbing activities that degrade living-soils and remove vegetation, precluding the living carbon from being recycled back into the soil, ~ preserving our natural environmental heritage ~ may actually be an important strategy in mitigating climate change – a way to actually and directly take carbon out of the atmosphere.

Perhaps these ideas will be considered in the study recently announced concerning sagebrush communities :

Soil carbon sequestration study beginsCasper Star Tribune

Scientists believe increasing the carbon in soils — a process known as soil carbon sequestration — may help reduce the rise of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere that contribute to global warming

W&L Biologist’s Research Aims to Help Yellowstone Bison, Elk

Invasive species change soil ecology.

Besides making a few errors like saying that there were 3,000 buffalo killed last year rather than 1,700, and describing where the genetically pure buffalo are, this article is interesting and discusses some important issues which apply to a broader landscape.

W&L Biologist’s Research Aims to Help Yellowstone Bison, Elk
Washington and Lee University

Waging war on weeds

The Casper Star Tribune highlights an important threat to wildlife habitat – weeds:

Waging war on weeds

The article gives a pretty good indication of the extent to which different weeds threaten wildlife habitat and are an economic scourge – but I will take issue with one statement made in the article :

Native plants have no built-in defense mechanisms against noxious weeds, which spread like a slow wildfire, squeezing out native plants one by one.

This statement is just not true – and it’s a pretty neat thing why it’s not true :

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