Expanding Nature-Based Solutions

Accelerating nature-based solutions to achieve California’s climate change goals

Our lands are a critical yet underutilized sector in California’s critically urgent effort to build a resilient, equitable, and carbon neutral future. Healthy landscapes can sequester and store carbon, limit future greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, protect people and nature from the impacts of climate change, and build resilience to future impacts of climate change. Unhealthy landscapes have the opposite effect – they release more greenhouse gases than they store, worsen climate risks to people and nature, and are more vulnerable to future climate change impacts.

In October 2020, Governor Newsom outlined a comprehensive and results-oriented agenda to expand nature-based solutions across California through Executive Order N-82-20. It called for restoring nature and landscape health to deliver on our climate change goals and other critical priorities, including improving public health and safety, securing our food and water supplies, and achieving greater equity across California.

The Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy will drive implementation of the Governor’s Executive Order and expanded climate action in this sector, which has been called for in California’s Climate Change Scoping Plan and California’s recently updated Climate Adaptation Strategy.

California’s first Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy was released on April 22, 2022.

Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy (full size 25 MB)

Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy (reduced size 10 MB)

Estrategia Climáticamente Inteligente De Tierras Naturales Y De Trabajo (en Español)


  1. Opportunity Menu – A Collection of Recommendations to Scale Nature-Based Climate Solutions
  2. Natural and Working Landscapes – Classification and Definitions
  3. Summary of Public Engagement
  4. Endnotes
  5. Comprehensive List of Existing State Efforts
  6. Land Cover Data Methodology
Senate Bill 27 (Skinner, 2021) requires the California Natural Resources Agency to create a registry for the purposes of identifying and listing projects in the state that drive climate action on the state’s natural and working lands and are seeking funding from state agencies or private entities. We will be holding public workshops this fall to inform the develop of the registry. More details and registration links coming soon!