Can Restored Meadows Fight Climate Change? California Seeks to Find Out [Sierra Meadows Partnership research]Leave a Comment
- Franson’s work [with Point Blue] is one of eight studies on carbon storage in Sierra Nevada meadows, all of which are part of California’s pioneering cap-and-trade legislation to reduce carbon emissions.
- California’s cap-and-trade extension, passed by lawmakers this week, ensures continued study of whether Sierra Nevada meadow restoration can capture carbon pollution and help birds at once.
…The Sierra Meadows Partnership should help these species, even though its primary goal relates to climate change. Scientists know soils store three times more carbon than vegetation and the atmosphere combined. It’s stored in plants’ deep root systems, and in the accumulation of their dead tissue over time. But changes to the landscape have limited or reversed centuries of carbon storage. Degraded meadows store less carbon, and warmer temperatures from climate change may release carbon back into the atmosphere.
The Sierra Meadows Partnership is focused on identifying how much carbon meadows are storing, how much they are losing, and whether restoration makes a difference. The group has identified 16 meadows ranging in elevation from 3,045 to nearly 8,700 feet; half are being restored, while the others will serve as control sites that allow scientists to measure the effects of restoration….
…A 2014 study, published by Point Blue Conservation Science, found that restored meadows in the northern Sierra Nevada have the potential to support up to 10 times more breeding bird species and individuals than degraded sites. And preliminary results from a study of meadows restored between 2001 and 2016 found 20 percent more soil carbon, on average, in restored meadows compared to degraded ones….
Key organizations in the Sierra Meadows Partnership:
- California Tahoe Conservancy
- Trust for Public Lands
- Sierra Foothills Conservancy
- National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
- Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
- Feather River Land Trust
- Point Blue Conservation Science
- Sierra Fund
- South Yuba River Citizens League
- CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife
- US Forest Service
- Stillwater Sciences
- Institute for Bird Populations
- University of Nevada, Reno
- UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences
- UC Merced
- American Rivers
- Plumas Corps
- Truckee River Watershed Council
- Trout Unlimited
- The Nature Conservancy
- Todd Sloat Biological Consulting
- Sabra Purdy Consulting
- National Forest Foundation