The U.S. agriculture and forestry sectors can play an important role in limiting the build-up of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. Conservation and land management practices can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide associated with crop and livestock production; increase the quantity of carbon stored in soils and above ground vegetation; and generate renewable fuels that recycle carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry are USDA’s framework for helping farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners respond to climate change. The effort relies on voluntary, incentive-based conservation, forestry, and energy programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and expand renewable energy production in the agricultural and forestry sectors.
This Progress Report on Climate Change and the Land Sector highlights how the Obama Administration is working to improve measurements of land sector emissions while also designing innovative programs that enhance climate mitigation and resilience in this sector. Through these sustained actions we are protecting our natural resources and the communities that rely on them.
CCPO works with USDA researchers and analysts from EPA and the Department of Energy to improve our ability to inventory and estimate GHG emissions and carbon sequestration from the local to national scales. Periodically, USDA produces an updated inventory of GHG emissions and carbon storage for the agriculture and forestry sectors. These reports are consistent with the annual emissions reporting done by EPA, but provide an enhanced view of the data regionally and by land use.
USDA is working on tools and methods that will assist farmers, ranchers and forest land managers in assessing their GHG footprint. These tools and methods will be useful for understanding the GHG impact of various management options.
Many land and animal management technologies and practices can help reduce GHG emissions. USDA provides information to help land managers assess which mitigation technologies and practices might be appropriate to their operation.