Carbon Sequestration
Southeast Region
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Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration -- To Benefit Fish & Wildlife

Collage of a 3-year forest, Ag fields and mature floodplain forest

Carbon dioxide is one of many gases emitted into the atmosphere that contribute to climate change. Terrestrial carbon sequestration uses plants to take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store, or sequester, it in woody vegetation for decades or more. This process therefore helps to reduce the harmful effects of carbon dioxide emissions. To increase the benefits of carbon sequestration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is partnering with dozens of private corporations and government and non-government organizations, to restore and enhance thousands of acres of native forest and wildlife habitat on national wildlife refuges in the southeastern United States.

Since 1992, the Service has worked with its corporate partners to restore native habitat to more than 65,000 acres of federal and privately owned lands in the Southeast. In a partnership which benefits both industry and wildlife, these companies have supported the planting of native hardwood trees that sequester carbon for future carbon credits.


Benefits to Wildlife

The Service’s National Wildlife Refuges, with their established forests and additional lands available for reforestation, are valuable contributors in the effort to sequester greenhouse gases. Moreover, the reforestation of open refuge lands can significantly benefit the wildlife resources that the Service is working to conserve. Particularly in times of strained budgets, the cooperativeprojects the Service is able to enter into with industries seeking to offset their carbon outputs can be advantageous to both people and wildlife.

When wildlife conservation principles are employed as an integral part of greenhouse gas sequestration, joint ventures, such as those of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, can be used to reverse past ecosystem damage and restore habitats for fish and wildlife. This approach also ensures that carbon sequestration projects truly benefit our native wildlife populations - an important goal of both the Service and the conservation community.

Conservation organizations want to work with the Service and energy industry to ensure that wildlife conservation principles are an integral part of the greenhouse gas sequestration process so that sequestration projects can be used to reverse past ecosystem damage and restore habitats for fish and wildlife. We want to avoid an approach to terrestrially sequestering gaseous carbon thatsimply treats the continents and oceans as a storage container, so to speak, where it does not matter what species of vegetation is used, nor the manner in which it is managed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s partnerships with industry and conservation organizations will result in terrestrial carbon sequestration projects that conserve, restore, and maintain the ecological integrity of our Nation’s land, water, and native habitats for fish and wildlife.


Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration -- Restoring Native Wildlife Habitat and Capturing Carbon -- Fact Sheet


Last updated: April 14, 2010