A new type of carbon credit program designed for long-term conservation initiatives such as conservation easements on grasslands is beginning to enroll landowners this year. The goal of this effort is to develop a pilot project designed to conserve grasslands and reduce potential greenhouse gas emissions from land conversion. The program could potentially pay landowners who are avoiding crop cultivation activities in concert with easement activity.
The United States has lost grasslands to cropland at accelerated rates in recent years. This conversion can lead to a number of environmental issues including loss of habitat, soil erosion, water pollution, and release of greenhouse gases. By maintaining grasslands, landowners can enhance wildlife habitat, improve watershed health, and prevent the release of carbon into the atmosphere.