USDA Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry: Case Studies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry initiative is the Department's framework for helping farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners respond to climate change. The effort involves voluntary, incentive-based conservation, resilience planning, resource conservation, and energy programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and expand renewable energy production in the agricultural and forestry sectors.

In this report USDA published the results of case studies that demonstrate exemplary climate smart agriculture and forestry practices for each of the ten “building blocks:”

  • Soil Health
  • Nitrogen Stewardship
  • Livestock Partnerships
  • Conservation of Sensitive Lands
  • Grazing and Pasture Lands
  • Private Forest Growth and Retention
  • Stewardship of Federal Forests
  • Promotion of Wood Products
  • Urban Forests
  • Energy Generation and Efficiency

Each case study is a one page review describing the sustainability achievements and climate solutions implemented. The initiative is focused on climate mitigation practices through innovate forestry and agriculture practices, while also expanding efforts in adaptation. For example, the case study on Private Forest Growth and Retention describes the Brule-St. Croix Forest Legacy Project - which permanently protects over 21,000 acres of private forest land through a conservation easement held by the State of Wisconsin, funded in part by the Forest Legacy Program. This landscape level conservation initiative contributes to both climate change adaptation and mitigation by keeping forests healthy, so they continue to provide benefits such as carbon storage, habitat connectivity, and drinking water protection in the face of a climate change.


Publication Date: May 2016

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  • Best practice
  • Case study

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