Unlike the Earth’s atmosphere, the land benefits from storing more carbon. Carbon enriches the soil and trees provide habitat and clean air and water. Conserving, restoring and rethinking the way we manage our lands and coasts will have multiple payoffs not only for climate, but also for the plants, animals and people that call Earth home.

Reforestation and forest protection improve water and air quality and enhance biodiversity, introducing sustainable agriculture techniques that make soils healthier and increase crop yields, and protecting wetlands which in turn make coastal communities more resilient to rising sea levels and severe storms fuelled by climate change.

There are myriad benefits from Natural Climate Solutions which explains why they are a key platform for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030.

  • Water: Terrestrial and coastal ecosystems play an important role in improving water quality and protecting water security. For example, restoring wetlands boosts the land’s ability to filter freshwater. Certain agricultural practices improve water use efficiency and proper fertilizer management help to protect the water supply from nitrogen runoff.
  • Air: Reducing fire-driven deforestation helps keep the air clear and breathable. Protecting forests can even help to restore natural rainfall patterns.
  • Soil: Soil conservation and other agricultural improvements can boost productivity, helping to meet the growing demand for food without expanding the footprint of farming.
  • Biodiversity: Conserving and restoring natural lands (and employing more sustainable forestry and agriculture management strategies) will protect native habitats for plants, animals and other organisms
  • Livelihoods: Restoring nature is also great for jobs: in 2014 it employed over 120,000 people in the U.S., significantly more than iron and steel production or coal mining. Often, people think of climate change mitigation and development as being at odds with one another. In reality, well-crafted development policies and programs can create growth and prosperity while also curbing emissions. Worldwide, some 2 billion people depend directly upon the land and coast for sustenance. Improved farming practices improve their livelihoods, and can revitalize rural communities. Sustainable forestry can have similar benefits for individual incomes and communities. Better managed mangroves means more fish nurseries and safer coastal communities.