Lost forests and soils would store carbon, slow water down

Greenfield Recorder, December 15, 2023, p. A6


"A proposed Slow Water Carbon Offset Fund, established with state money and private donations, would pay residents who pledge not to apply quick-release fertilizer $1 a square foot of lawn, up to $1,000 for 1,000 square feet. The fund would incentivize residents to restore degraded land with a new lawn.

There are already more than 2,000 square miles of residential lawns in Massachusetts. An inch of soil on them would add 232,320,000 tons of organic carbon. Lawn photosynthesis would annually pull out 852,614,400 tons of carbon dioxide (equal to the annual emissions of 170.5 million cars). An acre with 6-inch-deep soil holds approximately 38,445 gallons of water. Lawns across the state 4 inches deep hold 25.8 million gallons."    


"Two carbon offset funds — one that invests in storing organic carbon and holding water in soils and the other that pays timber harvest revenue to keep trees standing— would pay dividends to everyone. What happens in soils and forests does not stay in soils and forests. Entire watersheds and the climate benefit; even the nests we build called cities are better off."

Rob Moir is a nationally recognized and award-winning environmentalist. He is president and executive director of Ocean River Institute, a nonprofit based in Cambridge . Visit www.oceanriver.org for more information.