Climate Change Mitigation on Natural and Working Lands

California’s natural and working lands encompass a range of land types and uses from farms and ranches to forests, grasslands, deserts, wetlands, riparian areas, and urban green space. Although these lands can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their vegetation and soils, disturbances such as severe wildfire, land degradation, and conversion can cause these landscapes to emit more carbon dioxide than they sequester. The Natural Resources Agency and its sister agencies implement programs and policies to mitigate disturbances on natural and working lands and enhance their resilience so they can sequester carbon and provide vital health, social, economic, and environmental benefits.

State-led restoration, conservation, and management activities aim to achieve the State’s vision for the Natural and Working Lands sector to:

  1. Protect land from conversion to more emissions-intensive uses through conservation and planning;
  2. Enhance the resilience of and potential for carbon sequestration through management and restoration and reduce GHG and black carbon emissions from wildfire and management activities; and
  3. Innovate biomass utilization from forestry and agricultural activities so that harvested wood and excess agricultural and forest biomass can be used to advance statewide objectives for renewable energy and fuels, wood product manufacturing, agricultural markets, soil health, and rural economic development.

California’s 2030 Natural and Working Lands Climate Goal and Implementation Plan

Adoption of the 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update commits the State to finalizing a carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission reduction goal for natural and working lands by September 2018. The 2030 Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan will describe this GHG goal and provide a blueprint to achieve it by building capacity through state-funded conservation, restoration, and management activities. California will use an “all lands” approach to sequester carbon and reduce GHGs on natural and working lands that encompasses conservation, improved management, and restoration of wildland and urban forests, farms and ranches, grasslands, coasts, and wetlands. By November 2018, California will release a final Implementation Plan to outlines the extent of restoration, conservation, and management activities needed to meet identified climate change goals.

NEW Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan Concept Paper

A Concept Paper for the Natural and Working Lands Implementation Plan was released in May 2018 and is available here, and on the California Air Resources Board’s Natural and Working Lands webpage. The Concept Paper provides a proposed outline for the California Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan with the aim of gathering feedback and discussion from the public to inform the final Plan. It describes:

  1. The directive to create an Implementation Plan as outlined in the 2017 Scoping Plan Update: The strategy for achieving California’s 2030 greenhouse gas target;
  2. The scope of the Implementation Plan;
  3. The tools to be used for setting a 2030 GHG reduction goal;
  4. The framework and process for developing, implementing, and tracking progress on the Implementation Plan and its associated goals; and
  5. The proposed conservation, restoration, and management activities that will be employed through state-funded investments to sequester carbon on natural and working lands, and the California Department of Agriculture, California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Natural Resources Agency programs that may contribute to these activities by 2030.

Comments on the Concept Paper can be submitted here through June 15, 2018.

Investments in Natural and Working Lands

California has made significant investments in programs that fund climate benefits on natural and working lands. These programs fund conservation easements on forests, farms and ranches; wetland restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and along the coast; meadow restoration in the Sierra foothills; active forest management to restore forest health and mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfire; agricultural practices to increase soil carbon; and urban forestry and greening. In addition to protecting lands, removing GHGs from the atmosphere, and sequestering carbon, these programs restore lands that have been degraded by fragmentation, over-grazing, topsoil loss, severe forest fires, and other disturbances; create new green space in cities; keep farmland in production; and help ecosystems adapt to a changing climate.

Investments include more than $600 million of Cap-and-Trade dollars that have been leveraged for natural and working lands strategies to date across programs including:

Information on all awards to date can be found at the California Climate Investments portal.

Tools and Research

Ongoing research across state agencies advances our understanding of climate mitigation on natural and working lands and carbon dynamics in California, including the following initiatives:

  • California Natural and Working Lands Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Model (CALAND): Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is working with CNRA and other agencies to develop CALAND, a model that will project the carbon benefits of different scenarios for state-funded conservation, restoration, and management activities through 2030. Version 3 of the model will be finalized in July 2018 in support of the Natural and Working Lands Implementation Plan and will estimate expected benefits from programs at CNRA and its board, departments, and conservancies. Since the end of 2017, CNRA has convened a Technical Advisory Committee, including state agency and public members, to provide input to Berkeley Labs on data and methods to consider for use in CALAND. The Technical Documentation for CALAND Version 2, which was developed from December 2016-October 2017, is available here. A tentative Natural and Working Lands Plan and CALAND model timeline is available here.
  • Natural and Working Lands Inventory: The California Air Resources Board has worked extensively with other state agencies, academic researchers and the public to develop a Natural and Working Lands inventorythat will guide understanding of how carbon is released and sequestered by natural and working landscapes. CARB is updating the forest component of the Natural and Working Lands inventory to include 2012 GHG emissions estimates and emissions estimates for soil carbon, urban forestry, and croplands in 2018.
  • California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment: California’s state-led climate change research portfolio includes many projects related to natural and working lands, including research on strategies for increasing soil carbon, restoring resilience in overstocked forests, and using green infrastructure to enhance coastal resilience. It will be released in summer 2018.

Upcoming Events

Regional Meetings on California’s Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan

The California Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and California Environmental Protection Agency invite you to participate in regional public meetings on the development of California’s Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan.

Sierra Nevada & Foothills

Friday June 8, 2018; 10am-12pm
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Building
11641 Blocker Drive, Suite 110
Auburn, CA 95603 | RSVP

join the webinar or dial-in for remote access,
+1 (916) 573-2034, access code: 43910836

Klamath Cascade

Friday June 22, 2018; 10am-12pm
Shasta County Central Library
1100 Parkview Ave
Redding, CA 96001 | RSVP

join the webinar or dial-in for remote access,
+1 (916) 573-2034, access code: 93591561

SF Bay Area

Monday June 18, 2018; 1pm-3pm
State Coastal Conservancy
1515 Clay St
Oakland, CA 94612 | RSVP

join the webinar or dial-in for remote access,
+1 (916) 573-2034, access code: 37878329

Sacramento Valley

Tuesday June 26, 2018; 1pm-3pm
Mary L. Stephens Davis Library
315 E 14th St
Davis, CA 95616 | RSVP

join the webinar or dial-in for remote access,
+1 (916) 573-2034, access code: 5145992

North Coast

Wednesday June 20, 2018; 10am-12pm
Sonoma County Ag. + Open Space District
747 Mendocino Ave # 100
Santa Rosa, CA 95401 | RSVP

join the webinar or dial-in for remote access,
+1 (916) 573-2034, access code: 44909106

San Joaquin Valley

Thursday, June 28, 2018; 2-4pm
Fresno County Farm Bureau
1274 W Hedges Ave
Fresno, CA 93728 | RSVP

join the webinar or dial-in for remote access,
+1 (916) 573-2034, access code: 54225428

South Coast & Mountains

Thursday June 21, 2018; 10am-12pm
Los Angeles River Center & Gardens
570 W Ave 26 #100
Los Angeles, CA 90065 | RSVP

join the webinar or dial-in for remote access,
+1 (916) 573-2034, access code: 53076883

Central Coast

Monday July 2, 2018; 1pm-3pm;
Agricultural Center Conference Room
1428 Abbott Street
Salinas, CA 93901 | RSVP

join the webinar or dial-in for remote access,
+1 (916) 573-2034, access code: 77531197

BACKGROUND: The 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update commits the State to finalizing a goal for carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions on natural and working lands by September 2018. The 2030 Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan (NWL Plan) will further describe this GHG goal and provide a blueprint to achieve it through state-funded conservation, restoration, and management activities.

The NWL Plan will detail regional targets for a variety of state-funded conservation, restoration, and management practices that sequester carbon, such as wetland and meadow restoration, fuel reduction and improved management in forests, soil conservation on rangelands, and avoiding land use conversion from development. These acreage targets will be run through California-developed carbon models to project cumulative GHG benefits of these activities by 2030, by region and statewide.

PURPOSE: Regional meetings are intended to help state agencies gain feedback on opportunities and priorities and refine draft acreage targets for conservation, management, and restoration practices to be modeled and included in the final NWL Plan. These workshops seek engagement with landowners and stakeholders from Resource Conservation Districts, land trusts, nonprofits, academic institutions, NGOs, and local, regional, federal, and tribal governments, with the goals of:

  1. Ensuring that draft regional acreage targets for resource management are inclusive of significant local plans, goals, and programs, particularly regional multi-partner or landscape-scale plans; and
  2. Better understanding local priorities and stakeholder needs for successful regional implementation of the NWL Plan through 2030.

We ask that you please bring information on existing plans for conservation, restoration, and management priorities and targets as described above to inform our discussion. After the workshop, we will continue to solicit this information before regional targets are finalized for the Plan.

For more detailed information, please follow the link to the NWL Plan Concept Paper. If you have questions or comments regarding this workshop, please contact Emma Johnston at emma.johnston@resources.ca.gov or 916-651-7591.


Past Events

May 18, 2018: Public Workshop for the California Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan

The California Natural Resources Agency, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, and Strategic Growth Council are jointly hosting a public workshop to discuss and solicit input on the development of the Natural and Working Lands Implementation Plan (Implementation Plan) and associated 2030 intervention-based goal for carbon sequestration.

WEBINAR RECORDING OF MEETING: https://fte.water.ca.gov/owncloud/index.php/s/CkgdDxWX7QObxF0

DATE & TIME: Friday, May 18, 2018; 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

LOCATION: Rosenfeld Hearing Room, California Energy Commission (first floor), 1516 9th St, Sacramento, CA 95814

REMOTE ACCESS: A live webcast of the workshop will be available at:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4941374970534970371

Workshop Documents:

January 17, 2018: California Natural and Working Lands Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Model (CALAND) Development Webinars on Agricultural and Cultivated Lands and Forests

Webinar Materials:

  • CALAND Question and Answer Topics: This sheet summarizes questions on the CALAND model received from public comments and State agencies. It proposes how Berkeley Lab and the CALAND Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will follow up with model development in each topic area.
  • Agenda – Agricultural Lands webinar
  • Agenda – Forest lands webinar

Audio Recordings

Agricultural lands webinar recording | Forest Lands webinar recording

Background: The California Natural Resources Agency will be hosting two public webinars on CALAND model development: one on Agricultural and Cultivated Lands and the other on Forests. Current progress on the model and next steps for model refinement in these areas will be discussed. The webinars will cover topics and model elements that received significant public comments following the Oct. 13, 2017, public workshop on the Proposed Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan and CALAND Model Development, including topics that the Technical Advisory Committee has deliberated to-date.

October 13, 2017: Public Workshop on the Proposed Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan and CALAND Model Development

Workshop Materials:

Background: The California Natural Resources Agency, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and California Air Resources Board are jointly hosting a public workshop to present next steps on the Natural and Working Lands Implementation Plan that was proposed in the Draft 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update (January 2017) and to present Version 2 of the California Natural and Working Lands Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Model (CALAND) and next steps for model refinement and use. The workshop will include a moderated discussion to gather stakeholder input on the methods and scope of CALAND. In addition, the CALAND Steering Committee seeks participation from expert members of the public to inform development through participation in the CALAND Technical Committee.

December 14, 2016: Public Workshop on Carbon Sequestration Modeling Methods and Initial Results for the Natural & Working Lands Sector in the 2030 Target Scoping Plan

 November 7, 2016: Public Workshop on the 2030 Target Scoping Plan Update: GHG Policy Scenarios, Natural & Working Lands, and Public Health Analysis

March 23, 2016: Public Workshop on the Natural and Working Lands Sector to Inform Development of the 2030 Target Scoping Plan Update


Links

Forests:

Land Conservation and Restoration:

Coastal restoration:

Urban Forests and Urban Greening: