Arbor Environmental Alliance has taken the grassroots approach to preserving, restoring, and reclaiming farmland and aiding existing suburban development to maintain existing open space. We began one farm at a time and currently manage thousands of acres with another 200,000 acres in the planning stages.
Each of our agricultural projects is unique to the location, operation, soil type, livestock, and resources available. While the projects are unique, the goal remains the same - implement and sustain proper conservation practices to promote stewardship of the land and an improved and stabilized environment.
The practices that sequester carbon and reduce emissions of other GHG include:
- Creating conservation buffers
- Practicing conservation tillage
- Heightening management of grazing land
- Biofuel utilization
Conservation or riparian buffers are created by planting barriers of native grasses or trees along boundaries and streams. These buffers provide a protective cover that restores the vegetative cover, prevents erosion and nutrient runoff into waterways, and increases carbon storage through sequestration.
Conservation tillage is defined as any tillage and planting process where 30% or more of the crop residue remains on the soil after planting. The benefits are that less fuel is used because plowing is eliminated prior to planting, and the soil is not disturbed by plowing allowing carbon to accumulate. The type of conservation tillage is dictated by the topography, soil type, and type of crop planted. The various types of conservation tillage include no till, ridge till, minimum till, and mulch till. The benefits are increased carbon sequestration, reduction of carbon emitted by limited use equipment for plowing, and nitrogen remains fixed in the soil depending on conditions and crop selection.
Grazing land management refers to the grazing practices used to raise dairy and beef cattle that reduce greenhouse gasses by rotational grazing. By limiting the amount of grazing time spent by livestock in each field, there is minimal disturbance of the soil which promotes increased carbon sequestration and nitrogen remains fixed in the soil.
Biofuel utilization displaces fossil fuels with biomass, otherwise known as agricultural and forestry waste products or grown trees used for biomass fuel. The benefits are the decrease in carbon emissions from fossil fuel and decreased loss of nitrogen in the soil.
The challenge of the agricultural projects is to effectively sequester carbon without compromising productivity. This is where improvements in technology for livestock and crop production are vital for conservation and management to halt the conversion of cropland to non-farm use. Heightened fertility of cropland through proper management using conservation techniques will go a long way to preserving valuable open space and influencing the levels of CO2 that affect global warming.
In the past, forestry and agricultural activities contributed significantly to the increase of greenhouse gases that accumulated in the atmosphere. With the implementation of programs such as those fostered by Arbor Environmental Alliance, immediate benefits can be realized by:
- The reduction of carbon emissions
- Increased carbon sequestered to offset carbon emissions by individuals and other sources
- The preservation of open space
- Restored and reclaimed land
- Sustainable programs for continued progress