Iowa researchers endorse conservation efforts to combat climate change

Published on October 11, 2016

More than 180 Iowa science researchers and faculty from 38 Iowa colleges and universities, including more than 15 faculty associated with the University of Iowa College of Public Health, have endorsed the Iowa Climate Statement 2016 and efforts to expand voluntary, incentive‐based programs and initiatives for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to confront human-caused global warming.

“Iowa Climate Statement 2016: The Multiple Benefits of Climate-Smart Agriculture,” was released on October 5. This year’s statement centers around the U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative “Building Blocks for Climate-Smart Agriculture.”

The climate statement champions proven conservation techniques such as planting perennial plants on marginal cropland and reduced-till or no till farming that would decrease nation-wide net emissions and increase carbon storage in soil. Statement authors note that the document is part of a larger effort, strengthened by the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, to offset human-caused climate change.

“Iowa’s leadership through wider adoption of conservation practices will benefit our state, while these practices lessen human contribution to net greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the statement. “Iowa – once replete with soil carbon built by deep‐rooted perennial vegetation – can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions with crop‐perennial systems that pull heat‐trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and rebuild soil carbon. Thus Iowa – already a world leader in agricultural production and products – could now also take pride in “carbon‐storage farms” that also improve soil health, wildlife and pollinator habitat, and water quality.”

To view the full 2016 Iowa Climate Statement, visit the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research web site.