Nature-Based Climate Solutions in Indiana and Beyond

On Thursday, Sept. 28, Sycamore Land Trust and Citizens’ Climate Lobby Indiana hosted a virtual lecture and Q&A with Dr. Kimberly Novick, Professor, Paul H. O’Neill Chair, Fischer Faculty Fellow, and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Sciences at Indiana University. Dr. Novick discussed the opportunities and pitfalls surrounding nature-based climate solutions in Indiana and beyond, including reforestation, improved forest management and cover cropping. A recording is now available to watch online.

“Ultimately, stopping and reversing climate change hinges on reducing and eliminating net anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel use,” said Dr. Novick. “However, in the near term, complementary approaches for removing carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere have been deemed necessary to prevent dangerously high levels of warming. One way to remove atmospheric CO2 is through Nature-based Climate Solutions (or NbCS). NbCS are a range of management strategies for croplands, grasslands, forests, and terrestrial wetlands that increase CO2 sequestration from the atmosphere and/or reduce ecosystem emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide. Unlike other CO2 removal strategies, NbCS confer well-known environmental co-benefits for biodiversity, air and water quality, and soil health, and can also enhance the resilience of landscapes to threats exacerbated by a changing climate.

“While there is ample justification for implementing NbCS on the basis of their co-benefits alone, for NbCS to meaningfully support climate mitigation, they must meet essential criteria concerning durability, additionality, and measurability. In this talk, I will review the state of our scientific understanding about the extent to which popular NbCS strategies meet these criteria and offer a perspective on the knowledge gaps we must close in order to understand when and where these strategies are most likely to succeed. Particular attention will be paid to strategies that are particularly appropriate for implementation in Indiana, including reforestation, improved forest management and cover cropping.”

Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy climate change organization focused on national policies to address the national and global climate crisis. In Indiana there are 12 CCL chapters working in every Congressional district to build the political will for federal action on climate change. We do this through grassroots outreach, media work, meetings with community leaders in business, government, and faith communities, and by persistently, lobbying Congress for meaningful action on climate change.

Photo: Planting native tree seedlings at Sam Shine Foundation Preserve, by Chris Fox