Natural Lands, Natural Climate Solutions

Oregon’s farms, forests, urban parks, wetlands, and other natural lands shape our state’s landscape and economy and are an essential source of life-sustaining resources. OEC is part of a coalition working to protect these lands from climate extremes and harness their potential as a climate solution.

View over a pacific northwest valley with grass and trees in the background under blue sky

Photo credit: Makenzie Cooper

AN UNTAPPED CLIMATE SOLUTION

We know time is running out to avoid climate catastrophe. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that we must achieve net zero emissions by no later than 2050 to avoid the worst impacts. One key to ensuring a climate-resilient future stretches across all corners of the state: Oregon’s land and waters.

WHAT ARE NATURAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS?

Natural climate solutions are activities that protect or enhance the ability of natural and working lands to sequester carbon while helping to improve climate resilience, water quality and quantity, and biodiversity. 

Examples of natural climate solutions:

  • Water Protecting drinking watersheds and restoring wetlands
  • Farmland  Planting cover crops and using farming techniques like rotational grazing, no-till, and reduced tillage
  • Coast Protecting coastal communities from sea-level rise and storm surge
  • Forests Increasing reforestation and protecting mature and old-growth forests on public lands
  • Working forests  Supporting longer logging rotations for increased carbon storage and timber yield on private lands
  • Ecosystems Protecting and restoring forests, wetlands, and grasslands
  • Cities Planting more urban trees to sequester carbon and offer cooling shade
NCS Implementation Comparison Chart

This figure illustrates natural climate solution’s potential relative to Oregon’s 2018 projected business-as-usual emissions trajectory and state 2050 statutory goal. The white area shows the needed fossil fuel mitigation across other sectors while the colored wedges show the potential contribution of natural climate solutions. Modified from Graves et al. 2020

OUR STATE’S OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE ACTION: SENATE BILL 530

Oregon legislators have a chance to pass a critical piece of climate legislation in 2023: SB 530. This bill will help ensure the resiliency of our forests, waters, agricultural lands, and natural resource economy in the face of ever-worsening climate impacts while maximizing carbon sequestration to help achieve our climate goals. SB 530 will also better position Oregon to harness unprecedented new federal funding for climate-smart land management. 

Supported by a diverse statewide coalition of more than 100 elected officials, climate, conservation, and environmental justice organizations, and over 50 ranchers, farmers, and small forest landowners from around the state, SB 530 will help unlock the power of natural climate solutions.

Benefits of supporting natural climate solutions on Oregon’s natural and working lands: 

> Leverage significant federal resources for Oregon’s communities through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill 

> Help achieve Oregon’s climate goals by scaling-up carbon sequestration efforts and helping to meet Oregon’s established emissions reductions goals

> Support Oregon’s forest, farming, and ranching economies by offering voluntary incentives to enhance natural climate solutions while providing jobs and increasing productivity and profitability

> Ensure equitable environmental outcomes in the face of climate change, including improved air quality, flood control, soil health and productivity, protection from wildfire, and drought resilience

> Protect and enhance Oregon’s natural resources such as clean and abundant drinking water, improved fish and wildlife habitat, and reduced risk of flooding, erosion, and landslides

 

Please join us in showing support for Natural Climate Solutions! 

Take two minutes to tell your legislators to support SB 530

 

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