Green infrastructure—from trees and rain gardens to prairies, wetlands and forests—is the low-hanging fruit of climate adaptation, providing a long list of benefits, such as clean air and water, reduced flood risk, energy conservation, habitat, recreation, carbon sequestration and improved public health.
Nature-based solutions present meaningful, scalable opportunities to mitigate for greenhouse gas emissions at large and small landscape scales, while helping with adaptation and resilience toward key climate threats of heat and flooding.
Prairie, forest or wetland restoration nested within parks and open space protection provide watershed-scale benefits. Alternatively, resilient site-scale opportunities abound, including tree planting at bus stops, native landscaping along streetscapes or orchards and gardens at schools and community centers.
MARC estimates that current riparian forests sequester approximately 600,000 tons CO2e/year. Area forests, prairies and savannahs are estimated to sequester approximately 1.5, 3-5, and 5-7 t/year, respectively. Doubling well-managed riparian habitat would double carbon sequestration.
Large landscape conservation practices, from grassland and wetland restoration to cover cropping and regenerative agriculture, create opportunities to scale up mitigation efforts by an order of magnitude. Sequestration opportunities will allow the region to achieve net zero reductions after energy generation, energy efficiency and transportation measures are implemented.
Top reduction strategies
- Soil carbon sinks (landscape-scale regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration)
- Riparian and urban forest restoration
- Native landscapes