Restoring Forests, Soils, Grasslands, and Wetlands

WHRC scientists research and promote strategies that harness the power of nature to slow climate change. But these nature-based solutions can only be pursued if policy makers are equipped with sound science.

Forest Monitoring

WHRC is a recognized leader in the design and application of forest monitoring systems at local to global scales. Our scientists combine field measurements, satellite imagery, and computer models to track changes in the amount and distribution of the planet’s forest carbon stocks across tropical, temperate and boreal ecosystems.

In partnership with governments, conservation organizations and indigenous groups, we help to monitor forest health and inform sustainable land management practices. Most importantly, WHRC’s forest monitoring program seeks to produce the transparent and independent measurements needed to support inter-national climate policy frameworks like the Paris Agreement.

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Soils

Many of the land use practices being proposed as climate mitigation measures can also lead to improved soil health as well as farm resilience, productivity and profitability, and as such are being widely promoted as effective climate solutions. Our scientists specialize in understanding the capacity of soils and coastal sediments to absorb greenhouse gases and reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Mapping the Potential

WHRC and its partners are leading a collaborative research and communications campaign to identify and monitor high-priority landscapes for climate-smart restoration across the globe. Using field and remote sensing data, WHRC scientists are determining which regions have the greatest biophysical potential for increasing land carbon storage.

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Related Projects

Forest Monitoring
It is estimated that the forests of the world contain 450 billion tons of carbon, an amount equal to 45 years of fossil fuel combustion at the current rate. Each year, 1 billion tons of this carbon is released into the atmosphere through deforestation.
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Global warming is driven by the increase in concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due primarily to fossil fuel combustion. Changes in land use, such as deforestation for agriculture, represent a smaller fraction.
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Ecosystems and Climate ChangeEcosystems-jungle
Climate change is altering natural ecosystems by transforming landscapes, and changing animal and plant species distribution and biodiversity. These changes reflect a shift in terrestrial carbon.
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Sustainable LandscapesSustainable-tanguro
Agriculture is expanding rapidly into tropical forests and savannas in response to global demands for food and fuel. Pressures to conserve remaining forest and reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation are increasing.
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After the Amazon, the Congo Basin comprises the second largest forest on Earth. International agriculture and mining interests, charcoal production, subsistence farming, and the bush meat trade all threaten increasingly larger swaths of virgin forest.
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Climate and Land-use Change in New EnglandClimate-Land-use-forest2
Rising population and expanding residential and commercial development have led to a rise in deforestation rates from 1990 to 2005, especially in southern New England.
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