The Belwin Conservancy recently launched an innovative new carbon sequestration program. Via our website you can now make a contribution that will be used to sequester carbon through the restoration of native prairies, oaks savannas and woodlands. Unlike similar programs available online, carbon sequestration done at the Belwin Conservancy will have a visible impact in the community and donations will go directly to the carbon sequestration project rather than through a middle-man.
Global warming will not be solved without a multi-pronged worldwide approach. While government struggles with how exactly to address the climate crisis, many individuals and business are taking matters into their own hands. Today it is easy to purchase carbon credits on the open market from any number of groups that use the money to do everything from planting trees to funding renewable energy.
The Belwin Conservancy’s new carbon program takes this one step further. As our members well-know, we have been actively restoring native prairies, oak savannas and woodlands on our preserve. While these beautiful native ecosystems are critical to both the plants and animals that depend upon them, they are also adept at sequestering carbon. Productive ecosystems draw carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in plants and the soil. Protected native ecosystems store that carbon long-term, creating a sustainable carbon sink.
As long as these systems remain healthy, they grow and sequester carbon. Due to land use changes in this area, and the rise of invasive species including buckthorn, the local landscape is not as productive nor sustainable as it should be. This means that our local ecosystems do not sequester carbon at the rate that they are capable of, if they do at all.
Contributions to the Belwin Conservancy’s carbon fund will be used to both restore and maintain our prairies and woodlands, making them into sustainable carbon sinks. “After we performed an audit of the Belwin Conservancy’s carbon budget, we were blown away by just how much carbon we were taking in relative to what we expend doing the restoration we were already doing,” said Steve Hobbs, Executive Director of the Belwin Conservancy. “We started thinking about how much carbon we would be able to sequester if we had more partners making it possible for us to restore even more of our preserve.”
Our program is different not in how it sequesters carbon, but in the impact it will make by doing so. Because the money will be spent onsite enhancing habitat and biodiversity, it will have a direct effect on the plants and animals that reside here. Members can see directly how their donation is making an impact and sequestering carbon at the Belwin Conservancy.
Our Lake Edith oak savanna restoration will be the first place that contributions to the carbon fund will go. The funds will help us continue the large-scale restoration project already underway. Carbon fund donation will be used to establish prairie under the oaks once the principal work has concluded this spring. With continued care, this prairie, the mature trees and young saplings will all be potent carbon sinks for many years.
Whether you’re planning a trip this summer or just want to do the right thing for your household, you can make yourself carbon-neutral right now by visiting the carbon page. There you can figure out your carbon footprint, and make a contribution to our carbon fund.