2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

The Feasibility of Carbon Projects on Public Lands in the Western United States

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jared Talley


Carbon sequestration, as supported by markets, promises to enlist agriculture in the effort to reduce carbon loads in the atmosphere. Through the development of carbon markets, carbon sequestration is becoming a viable option for Western ranchers (i.e., rangeland) to diverse income portfolios while shifting to more ecologically and soil-friendly grazing management. However, there are risks and hazards that must be recognized before entering markets. In this discussion paper, we describe the current landscape of carbon sequestration and concomitant markets on western rangelands, highlight the risks and opportunities for rangeland carbon sequestration, and detail research directions that are needed to advance the current practice. Ultimately, we argue that although carbon sequestration on rangelands is not the panacea that many are looking for, it does operate as a socially-organizing force that helps western ranchers develop grazing practices that help make their operations, communities, and lands more sustainable and resilient.

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