Row crop cultivation releases large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere as soil that hosts grasslands contains large amounts of carbon.
Preventing the conversion of grasslands to row-crop agriculture has significant climate implications. Grassland-based emission reductions hold great promise as a tool to mitigate climate change but have been underutilized thus far.
Bluesource developed the first non-pilot grasslands project with CAR. The project’s success may compel more landowners of the value of conserving their land.
Avoided Conversion Grassland projects, previously underutilized as a method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, have begun to gain more traction in voluntary markets. Preventing the conversion of grasslands to row-crop agriculture has significant climate implications because soils that have supported grasslands for hundreds of years contain large amounts of carbon which is released when row-crop cultivation happens. The Carroll Grasslands Avoided Conversion Project was the first non-pilot project of its type and helped to pave the path for other avoided conversion projects to be developed.
Through a conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy, the project protects the land in perpetuity from environmentally harmful agricultural practices. The addition of this property to the already-preserved adjacent public lands represents the conservation of one of the most intact grasslands on the continent.
The project’s success convinces many more reluctant landowners of the value of conserving their land. Resulting discussions with landowners have revealed that additional income from carbon offset sales could play a significant role in allowing for the preservation of grasslands in areas with soils compatible with row-crop agriculture. Grassland-based emission reductions hold great promise as a tool to mitigate climate change. The project preserves and conserves the soil carbon, belowground biomass, soil nitrogen, and carbon in surface vegetation.