As part of New Jersey’s overall strategy for mitigating the effects of climate change, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Agriculture have released the outline of a strategy for managing natural and working lands in ways that reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
The release of this Natural and Working Lands Scoping Document follows the DEP’s issuance of the Global Warming Response Act 80×50 Report last year, which details the legislative, policy, public and private actions necessary for New Jersey to reach its global warming goals of reducing emissions by 80% below 2006 levels by 2050. Increasing the state’s ability to sequester carbon through the improved management of natural and working lands is critical to achieving the 80×50 goals and warding off some of the worst impacts of climate change.
When complete, the strategy will ultimately present a set of statewide policies and recommendations for the management of natural and working lands, the actions necessary to implement those recommendations within a proposed timeframe, and the associated carbon sequestration benefits. These land management efforts should reduce carbon dioxide in the environment through long-term accumulation in vegetation and soils. Sequestering carbon in this way would have multiple additional benefits, such as providing habitat for wildlife, contributing to the health and resilience of communities, and strengthening the economy.
As part of the development of the strategy, the DEP will host a series of targeted stakeholder sessions based on land type. A final strategy document is anticipated in 2022, following completion of the stakeholder process.