Conservation offers jump start on carbon

An elk shrouded in fog

The accelerating climate crisis threatens the health, resilience and stability of ecosystems, communities and economies around the world.

Addressing this urgent global challenge requires a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach that includes regulatory action, advances in technology, and the widespread implementation of nature-based solutions.

Regulatory changes and technological advances related to clean energy, carbon capture and carbon sequestration will continue to evolve over the years to come … but time is not on our side. To act today, with the speed and scale that the climate crisis demands, we must immediately and exponentially increase investment in nature-based solutions.

A mountain goat in the Rocky Mountains

The nation’s grasslands, forests and coastal habitats represent our best defense against climate change, as well as our best current tool to capture and sequester more carbon. If these natural habitats continue to disappear, as they are today, then climate change will accelerate. If we can conserve existing ecosystems that are at risk and invest in the creation and enhancement of additional nature-based solutions, then we stand a far better chance of slowing climate change and mitigating its most destructive effects on habitats and wildlife.

As the nation’s largest private conservation grant-maker, NFWF plays a leading role in national conservation efforts. The Foundation leverages its deep network of funding partners and grantees to generate and capitalize on landscape-scale conservation opportunities. Many of our largest grants support projects that protect local communities and economies, while at the same time enhancing wildlife habitats that will play a key role in the future course of climate change impacts in the United States.

Throughout 2021, NFWF worked with federal agencies, major corporations and on-the-ground implementers to protect and enhance vast grasslands that support agricultural production, provide habitat to wildlife, and sequester carbon in deep root systems. Huge tracts of forests were permanently protected, securing critical habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunities for people, and a natural capacity for capturing carbon. Coastal communities were able to tackle once-in-a-lifetime projects to preserve salt marshes, mangrove forests and other habitats that absorb enormous amount of carbon while also providing buffers from intense storms. 

There are no easy solutions to protecting our vital natural resources from climate change, no silver bullet to solve the many cascading challenges we will face in the years to come. But the work that NFWF and our funding partners make possible is making a difference today, and will make an even larger difference for communities and wildlife in the decades to come.