NEW JERSEY – Complementing the Murphy Administration’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build greater climate resilience, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) have released for public review the outline of a strategy for managing natural and working lands that is intended to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere contributing to global warming.
The release of this Natural and Working Lands Scoping Document follows the DEP’s issuance of the Global Warming Response Act 80×50 Report last year, which details the legislative, policy, public and private actions necessary for New Jersey to reach its global warming goals of reducing emissions by 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. Increasing the state’s ability to sequester carbon through the improved management of natural and working lands is critical to achieving the 80×50 goals and warding off some of the worst impacts of climate change.
The Administration is seeking public input on the proposed scope of the plan, which will be the state’s first-ever Natural and Working Lands Strategy. The Strategy will ultimately present a set of statewide policies and recommendations for the management of natural and working lands, the actions necessary to implement those recommendations within a proposed timeframe, and the associated carbon sequestration benefits. These land management efforts can and should reduce carbon dioxide in the environment through long-term accumulation in vegetation and soils. Sequestering carbon in this way would have multiple additional benefits, such as providing habitat for wildlife, contributing to the health and resilience of communities, including overburdened communities and strengthening the economy.
“For New Jersey communities to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change, we must seize every available opportunity to reduce the emissions of climate pollutants, better manage natural resources that store carbon, and sequester as much additional carbon as possible,” DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said. “How well we manage our natural and working lands in the coming years will bear directly on our ability to stave off the brunt of climate change, and we must draw upon the best available science, the expertise that exists across multiple sectors of our economy, and the public’s input to get this right.”
“The agricultural community’s participation in the Natural and Working Lands Strategy plays a vital role in helping reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are negatively influencing our planet,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “Carbon sequestration is an effective practice that farms can utilize to address climate change in an impactful manner while enhancing ecological and community resilience.”
Natural and Working Lands include:
As part of the development of the Strategy, the DEP will host a series of targeted stakeholder sessions based on land type. A final Strategy document is anticipated in 2022, following completion of the stakeholder process.
Public comment on the Natural and Working Lands Strategy Scoping Document will be accepted for 60 days and should be submitted through the webform found on the new Natural and Working Lands webpage. Those interested in participating in stakeholder sessions, anticipated for Spring/Summer 2022, may fill out an additional form on the webpage
The Strategy is intended for use by:
The Strategy will consider well-informed preservation, restoration and management strategies for increasing carbon sequestration.
For more information about the DEP’s climate initiatives, visit www.nj.gov/dep/climatechange.