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Improve Data on Climate and Land

Land Trust Alliance Recommendations to President-Elect Barack Obama December 8, 2008

Private, state and local agencies are doing a huge amount of land conservation in the United States, and have tremendous influence on the management of both their own lands, and that of private landowners.

These landowners need better data if they are to change their work to adapt to a changing landscape, or change their management to enhance the ability of these lands to absorb carbon dioxide and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.  They would greatly benefit from a federal effort to create, house, and make easily available information about projected effects of climate change on the physical and biological environment, about sequestration of greenhouse gases by various land uses in different locations, and about emissions of greenhouse gases caused by changes in land use in different land types and locations.

The federal government needs to collect the information now being generated by academic and government researchers, promote additional research in this area, help make its management implications explicit so they can be understood and used by public and private land managers, and provide a central and easy to access repository for it.

Such data will help land managers understand and, hopefully, quantify the climate effects of their work, and help them understand how they can adapt to a warming climate. This information will be critical to the effective use of new “adaptation funding” to state and federal wildlife managers to restore habitat, create wildlife migration corridors and assist fish and wildlife to adapt to effects of a warming climate, as endorsed on the Sportsmen for Obama website.

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