Biden to end large-scale old-growth timber sales in Tongass

The Biden administration will end large-scale sales of old-growth timber in the Tongass National Forest on the Alaska panhandle, the world's largest intact temperate rainforest, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday.

Do conservation subsidies really battle climate change?

The Conservation Reserve Program, which will pay farmers more than $1.8 billion this year to take land out of crop cultivation, has become a linchpin of the Biden administration's climate mitigation program for agriculture. But critics question just how effective the program is in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions generated by agriculture, says FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with The American Prospect.  (No paywall)

Administration promises stronger protections for imperiled species

The Interior and Commerce departments said they will rescind or revise five Trump-era regulations that reduced federal protections for endangered and threatened species. The replacement rules would give the same protection to threatened species as endangered ones, and would instruct the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Services to disregard economic impacts when deciding whether a species should go on the endangered list.

National conservation goal: 30 percent of U.S. land and water

The Biden administration announced a 10-year, voluntary and locally led drive to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and coastal waters by 2030, an idea President Biden broached in January. "This is the first national conservation goal we have ever set as a country," Gina McCarthy, the White House climate adviser, said Thursday during a rollout that featured three cabinet secretaries.

USDA awards $330 million for regional conservation

Seven dozen land stewardship projects across the nation will share a combined $330 million in federal funding for soil and water conservation on a watershed scale, said the USDA on Monday. “The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) is public-partnerships working at their best,” said …

Opportunities coming for land stewardship, says Vilsack

The USDA is days away from announcing "greater opportunities" for landowners to take fragile farmland out of production in exchange for an annual payment, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. Since early February, the Biden administration has been mulling how to stop a 13-year decline in enrollment in the Conservation Reserve, the largest U.S. land set-aside program.

Climate bill would expand USDA stewardship programs

The USDA would double the size of the Conservation Reserve, the government’s largest land-idling program, as part of supporting land stewardship on 100 million acres of farmland under companion bills filed in the House and Senate on Monday. Democrats Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Abigail …

Audubon enlists grass-fed meat brand to conserve critical bird habitat

The National Audubon Society today announced a partnership with Perdue-owned Panorama Organic Grass-fed Meats that will add nearly a million acres to its Conservation Ranching Initiative. Audubon has focused recent conservation efforts on privately owned rangelands, where 95 percent of grassland bird species live, and the deal with Panorama boosts the total acreage in its ranching program to 3.5 million.(No paywall)

Ag role in climate mitigation: Net-zero emissions

Before signing an executive order on fighting climate change, President Biden said on Wednesday that mitigation efforts would include net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by the agricultural sector, now responsible for 10 percent of U.S. emissions. "We see farmers making American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions and gaining new sources of income in the process," said Biden without suggesting how.

Climate change could accelerate soil erosion

U.S. cropland could lose two inches of soil nationwide by 2035 if climate change delivers its expected droughts and floods, said the Union of Concerned Scientists on Thursday. In a report, the group recommended such steps as crop insurance discounts for farmers who adopt practices that reduce erosion and improve soil health.