trees with fall colors near a wetland
Fall Colour Canada's Boreal Forest in Sheridon, Manitoba © Michael Pietrocarlo

Innovating for Climate Change

Natural Climate Solutions

Science shows that better stewardship of the land can play a critical role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

In October 2017, scientists from our global affiliate The Nature Conservancy, along with 15 other institutions, released the most comprehensive study to date demonstrating the importance of natural climate solutions in addressing climate change

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that greenhouse gas emissions can be cost-effectively reduced and stored in forests, agricultural lands, grasslands, and wetlands to deliver more than a third of the reductions required by 2030 to prevent dangerous levels of global warming. 

What Are Natural Climate Solutions?

Natural climate solutions are conservation, restoration and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in landscapes and wetlands across the globe. Combined with innovations in clean energy and other efforts to decarbonize the world’s economies, natural climate solutions offer some of our best options in the response to climate change.

Over 11.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year could be avoided or offset by natural climate solutions including planting more trees, reforesting degraded forests, engaging in responsible forest management, and improving cropland and peatland management. These natural solutions also provide a range of co-benefits such as conserving freshwater and maintaining species diversity.

Forest in Thelon
Forests Science shows that natural climate solutions like forest conservation can deliver up to 30% the emission reduction needed to address climate change. © Ami Vitale
Fishing in Great Bear
People Research shows that natural climate solutions can support local economic development. © Jason Houston

How Can We Implement Natural Climate Solutions in Canada?

In 2019, the Liberal Government announced a $3-billion commitment to natural climate solutions. Nature United is advancing the science behind these solutions with a new study — the first of its kind in Canada — together with 26 researchers from 16 institutions. This study will help show how Canada’s vibrant landscapes can help tackle climate change and provide practical, cost-effective and sustainable benefits to both nature and people. 

Canada’s boreal forest is part of the largest terrestrial carbon storehouse in the world, and our work here carries global implications. Our US-based study provided a starting point — but we need more information to fully understand the role Canada can play in addressing the global climate crisis.

More Resources

Learn more about how natural climate solutions can play a role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

  • The Yurok Tribe, the largest tribal group in California, owns land around the Klamath River and are participants in California's forest carbon offset program.

    How Nature Can Help Our Planet Heal

    A study by our global affiliate and other organizations shows that climate solutions in nature can equal stopping the burning of coal annually. Learn More

  • TNC Yampa River Preserve, Hayden, Colorado.

    Nature4Climate

    Nature4Climate is an initiative that aims to increase investment and action on nature-based solutions in support of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Learn More

  • at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve in Washington.

    Nature’s Make or Break Potential

    Study shows we’ve been underestimating nature’s role in tackling climate change. Learn More