open space & land conservancy initiative
Since 1953 the US has lost an average of 1,700,000 acres of open space every year. A significant area of the millions of acres lost has been replaced with paved surfaces and buildings that absorb heat. When open space is lost we lose more than just the land, we lose the cooling effect of the trees and vegetation and the ability to absorb the increased CO2 in the atmosphere.
Open space provides:
- Food sources close to home
- Sources of pollination for 1/3 of our food sources
- Sources of hunting, fishing, fruit, berries, and medicinal plants
- Timber for building
It is hard not to notice the land lost to development. Multiply what you have witnessed by nearly every community in the US and the thought is staggering.
USDA statistics reveal:
- 24,000 square miles (the size of West Virginia) was lost in a period of 5 years from 1992 to 1997
- 100,000 square miles (the size of California) of open space lost is predicted by the year 2020
- 6,000 acres of open space is lost every day
- 4 acres of open space is lost every minute
It is no wonder the number of trees that soak up CO2 is diminishing!
AEA Land Conservancy Stewardship Initiative (LCS)
For our first initiative we are exploring a partnership with Legacy Land Conservancy, formerly Washtenaw Land Trust, founded with the mission to protect forests, prairies, farms, wetlands and waters. By entering into conservation easement agreements with landowners in southeast Michigan, and owning public Preserves, Legacy Land Conservancy has helped protect over 4,800 acres with a goal of 25,000 more within the next twenty years.
AEA’s Stewardship Initiative will implement and manage site specific projects designed by MSU, to protect ecosystems, remove invasive species, enhance wildlife habitats, and establish forests. Legacy’s Sharon Hills Preserve located on 67 acres south of Chelsea will be the focus of our first initiative.
Look for updates Spring 2012 for project details and ways you can support this initiative!