MCT Project Leaders

Ellen Griswold, Maine Farmland Trust

David Herring, Wolfe’s Neck Center

Natural Climate Solutions Project

The name “natural climate solutions” refers to land management practices that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  Natural climate solutions can either (a) avoid emissions, or (b) pull greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.  A good example of (a) would be anaerobic digesters that make energy out of manure.  A good example of (b) is reforesting degraded agricultural lands.

In 2018 The Maine Climate Table facilitated the launch of a study to document natural climate solutions for Maine.  Ellen Griswold (Maine Farmland Trust) and David Herring (Wolfe’s Neck Center), both Steering Committee Members of the Climate Table, oversee this project.

For more information, email Ellen Griswold at egriswold@mainefarmlandtrust.org.

Where did Natural climate solutions come from?

The term “natural climate solutions” was coined by Griscom et al. in a scientific publication in The Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS) in 2017 (see link to publication at the bottom of this page).    They defined natural climate solutions as “20 conservation, restoration, and/or improved land management actions that increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions across global forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands.”

The figure below from the Griscom et al. paper ranks the mitigation potential of the 20 different practices.

At the top you’ll see that reforestation of deforested land has the greatest carbon mitigation potential (top bar), but avoided deforestation is more cost effective (the second bar from the top).  Within agriculture, biochar has the greatest carbon mitigation potential, but nutrient management is the most cost effective method of mitigation.

Source: Griscom, B. W. et al.  2017.  Natural climate solutions.  Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.  www.pnas.org/cg/doi/10.1073/pnas. 1710465114  (see link to paper at bottom of this page)

Dowload the Griscom et al. paper by clicking on the image below.