Increased throughput of carbon-based fossil energy, the destruction of Earth’s forests, and other land use changes have resulted in ever higher levels of waste in the form of greenhouse gases—as well as a diminished capacity of the planet to absorb and store those wastes. This means that to avoid catastrophic global warming and maintain the habitability of Earth by protecting essential soil and water resources, we will need to not only reduce emissions, but also increase carbon storage in the land system. Biosequestration and Ecological Diversity: Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change and Environmental Degradation discusses ways to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and build soil by changing the way people use and manage land.
Principles and Practices for Better Land Management
Examining biosequestration in social, economic, and political context, the book reviews recent scientific evidence on climate change and global ecological degradation and explains how the carbon cycle has been transformed by destructive land use practices, such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. It describes the principles of biosequestration and restorative land management practices and discusses the potential of carbon storage. The author offers specific examples of inexpensive, proven practices that build soil, protect scarce water resources, and enhance ecological diversity. He also identifies conservation policies that provide technical assistance and financial resources for ecological protection and restoration.
How You Can Help Mitigate Climate Change with a Little Piece of Land
Restorative land use and land management practices are critical components of any comprehensive strategy for mitigating and adapting to climate change and global environmental degradation. This book explains how anyone who owns or manages land—from an apartment to a city lot to a farm, forest, park, or even a golf course—can help protect and enhance the biological sequestration of carbon.
Table of Contents
Global Warming and Ecological Degradation
Emergence of the Anthropocene
Climate Change as Context
An Overview of Climate Change Evidence
CO2 and Radiative Forcing
Climate Sensitivity: The Likely Extent and Rate of Warming
The Ecosystem Impacts of Global Warming and Related Ecological Crises
Prelude to a Strategy
The Global Carbon Cycle and Terrestrial Biosequestration
Terrestrial Ecosystems and the Carbon Cycle Imbalance
Enhanced Carbon Sequestration
The Problem of Permanence
Terrestrial Carbon, Food Security, and Biosequestration Enhancement
Land and Carbon Management
Forest Biomes and Carbon Sinks
Agricultural Land, Degraded Soils, and Water Scarcity
A Conservative Estimate of Global Terrestrial Carbon Biosequestration Enhancement
Land Management Examples, Practices, and Principles
Land Management for Carbon Biosequestration and Ecological Diversity
Concrete Steps and a Vision
Conservation Policy and the Politics of Growth
Conservation Assistance Is Available
Societal Transformation and the Politics of Growth
Appendix A: Measures and Conversion Units
Appendix B: Surface Albedo
Wayne A. White lives with his wife on an 80-acre farm in Jefferson County, Kansas, where they raise grass-fed beef, apples, pears, berries, biomass energy, and a variety of vegetables and herbs. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from Kansas State University, has taught sociology and political science, and has worked as a legislative lobbyist, grant writer, and program administrator for a statewide nonprofit legal services organization. White owns and cares for forest and grassland in Kansas, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada. His interests include forestland health, high-diversity native grassland mixtures, and land management practices that protect and enhance ecological diversity.
"Lucidly and succinctly, Wayne Allan White guides the reader through the scientific complexities of climate change and its environmental impacts. Although with a sense of urgency about the serious ecological threats at hand, his conviction that something can and should be done about these problems animates the work. … This illuminating work will be accessible to a wide range of readers interested in climate change and the emergent ecological crisis."
—Robert J. Antonio, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA
"… both a solemn reminder of the trouble we’re in and a hopeful treatise on sustainable possibilities that await us when we decide to act. Well-crafted and empirically rich, this superb book gives us an intelligent assessment of the ecological and social conditions that constitute the all too real problem of climate change."
—Michael Carolan, Chair, Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, USA, and author of The Real Cost of Cheap Food
"... shines a spotlight on a topic that has not received sufficient attention in the growing literature on global climate change—the extent to which land management practices can reduce concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The picture is a frightening one—the book starts with a concise and informative summary of recent scientific findings which indicate that global warming is not only ubiquitous but accelerating. But the author also provides a way forward by documenting the ways in which greenhouse gases can be removed from the atmosphere through restorative land management practices. ... The author’s ability to make a complicated subject accessible to the general reader makes for a great blueprint for combating climate change."
—Eric Hanley, University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA
"Wayne’s book is an important voice in support of a rising global consciousness with respect to protecting and nurturing nature’s free services for all generations—rather than simply exploiting them for immediate, personal gain. ... Wayne’s message is clear and gentle, yet profound in its simplicity: by working in harmony with nature, we not only begin to heal the damage we humans have caused by degrading the global ecosystem over the centuries, but we also begin to heal ourselves by accepting our role as trustees of the earth as a biological living trust—of which all generations are the beneficiaries. ... This book makes an important contribution to the series on socioenvironmental sustainability by offering an excellent blueprint of the systemic components and actions necessary to begin a conscious, collective process of healing our home planet, each within our own capacity."
—From the Series Editor’s Note by Chris Maser, Consultant, Corvallis, Oregon, USA