Expansive grasslands and prairies once covered the United States, but these landscapes are disappearing right before our eyes. Native grasslands are vanishing faster than our forests, and we’ve already lost over half of these precious ecosystems in the U.S.
Above ground, grasslands are a thriving hub of life, filled with native plants and teeming with wildlife. But did you know that grasslands hold a secret solution to climate change beneath the surface? A complex network of roots and soil plays a crucial role in capturing carbon and mitigating global warming.
The threats to grasslands are ever-present, with development and cropland conversion looming over these fragile ecosystems. The loss of grasslands is not just a loss of natural beauty, but a waste of precious resources such as groundwater, diverse ecosystems, and most importantly – carbon.
Nature’s original climate solution.
Grasslands store about a third of the world’s land-based carbon. For millions of years, these landscapes have pulled carbon directly out of the air and stashed it deep in the soil. Grasslands naturally absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and with sustainable management and protection, they function as carbon sinks and reservoirs.
When land is converted to other uses, such as row crop farmland, it leads to habitat loss, soil degradation, and increased carbon emissions. Development prevents the land from naturally sequestering carbon and farming activities, such as tillage, disturb the soil and release carbon back into the atmosphere. This reverses in an instant what the land has naturally sequestered and safely stored for millions of years.
Landowners can prevent these negative effects by enrolling unprotected grasslands in avoided cropland conversion projects. These projects are a valuable tool for maintaining biodiversity and protecting underground carbon storage.
Protecting a High Plains Ranch
Photos from the first property in AgriCapture’s Grasslands Program, a West Texas ranch.
The first property in AgriCapture’s Avoided Grasslands Conversion Project sits right in what the USDA identifies as a “new Dust Bowl Zone” in West Texas. This zone covers parts of the Southwestern U.S. that are vulnerable to severe wind erosion and where grasslands conservation is a priority. Because of this, protecting this Texas ranch and the region’s natural resources became even more important.
The ranch is located directly over the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest aquifer in the United States and the most relied upon source of water for the state of Texas. In the High Plains region, the ranch consists of open grasslands that provide a habitat for unique wildlife species including Lesser Sandhill Cranes, Mule Deer, antelopes, prairie dogs and numerous migratory birds.
While the AgriCapture Avoided Grassland Conversion Project provides valuable protection to natural resources and ecosystems, the most vital resource is carbon stored deep below ground.
The Project registered the land with the Climate Action Reserve to generate carbon credits for preventing soil disturbance that releases carbon into the atmosphere. If the land is used for grazing in the future, sustainable grazing and regenerative management practices will be used.
This management plan is backed by a 150-year conservation easement with the Texas Agricultural Land Trust to ensure the land will not be converted to cropland.
Sitting in the High Plains region, the ranch provides a habitat for unique wildlife and native plants.
The AgriCapture Avoided Grassland Conversion Project
The AgriCapture Project is the first of its kind in the state of Texas to be issued carbon credits from the Climate Action Reserve. The project received credits for preventing the loss of soil carbon and reducing future GHG emissions of crop production.
Each registry-verified carbon credit represents one avoided ton of carbon dioxide equivalent and must meet strict eligibility requirements in the Grasslands Protocol, including ensuring long-term permanence of underground carbon storage.
Carbon credits for grassland conservation reward landowners for maintaining their native grasslands and preventing GHG emissions. Corporate supporters of the Avoided Grasslands Conversion Project will offset company emissions while protecting our disappearing native grasslands.
Protect Fragile Ecosystems
Conserve Natural Resources
Ready to build a more sustainable future?
AgriCapture is on a mission to preserve the natural beauty and functionality of these incredible landscapes to ensure that they continue to play a vital role in our fight against climate change. Join us in protecting our grasslands, our planet, and our future.
To support grassland conservation and climate-smart agriculture carbon credit projects like this one, check out AgriCapture’s Business Solutions. Our team will help you reach your climate goals with carbon offsetting, climate-friendly sourcing, or custom sustainability programs.
To see how grasslands conservation, sustainable ranching, or climate-friendly agriculture can benefit your operation, reach out now.