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Preserved lands defend against climate change
1/25/2013 Volume XLVI, No. 4

When President Obama referred to “our national treasure” during his inauguration speech, he wasn’t talking about the gold in Fort Knox.

He was referring to something far more precious, something “green” rather than gold: “our forests and waterways, our croplands and snowcapped peaks.”

In addition to providing clean water and air and fresh food, these open lands play a crucial role in mitigating the impacts of global climate change.

Following years of scant public discussion on climate change, the President’s speech recognized the threats posed by the warming of our planet – and the urgent need to take action.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2012 was the hottest year on record. It was also a year of extreme weather events, from Superstorm Sandy to the worst drought since the Dust Bowl of 1930s.

One way we can address climate change is by increasing renewable energy sources, thus reducing our dependence on fossil fuels that send greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.

Another way is by preserving lands that grow trees that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce oxygen.

For that reason, last week’s announcement of the preservation of more than 5,000 acres in the Great Egg Harbor watershed in South Jersey was fantastic news.

In the largest state Green Acres preservation project in many years, 5,079 acres of woodlands and wetlands in Estell Manor, Atlantic County, were permanently preserved.

These lands straddle the area where the Pine Barrens meets coastal estuary ecosystems. The bulk of the newly-preserved land – a tract known as Lenape Farms – had been used as a private hunting game preserve since the early 1900s and was privately managed for forestry and wildlife.

These forests and wetlands are important allies in the effort to mitigate climate change. Trees draw carbon out of the air and store it, or “sequester” it, in their wood.  Given the enormous potential costs of climate change, this eco-service is invaluable.

But that’s not all. These preserved lands will protect the headwaters of several tributaries to Great Egg Harbor River, and provide habitat for many wildlife species. They will also provide great hunting, fishing, hiking and bird watching opportunities for the public.

Kudos to the state and its partners – The Nature Conservancy, the New Jersey Pinelands Commission and Conservation Resources Inc. – for saving the Lenape Farms property, ensuring that we will reap its ecological benefits forever. This land truly is a new gem in “our national treasure.”

For more information about preserving our land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at or contact me at



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Governor-elect Murphy should set new course on the environment

Protect soils to keep the garden in our state

Clean, plentiful water is New Jersey's lifeblood

A breath of fresh air for New Jersey?

Keep Liberty State Park free and open

A green agenda for Governor-elect Murphy

Life, liberty ... and a clean environment

New Jersey's aging water infrastructure

The land before time: NJ's Kittatinny Ridge & Valley

While bats hibernate, scientists hope for survival

Natural Resource Damages fund new parks and preserves

Save menhaden, a humble but mighty fish

Ballot question approval would lock in environmental funds

Sandy Millspaugh: Conservation Trailblazer

Extreme hurricanes highlight concerns about climate change

'Head start' for corn snakes

Protecting the Highlands - it's the water

When you could walk from New Jersey to Morocco

A bold plan for the planet

New Jersey's energy future at a crossroads

Tiny insect will have a huge impact on New Jersey

Protect New Jersey's Pine Barrens

Enjoy New Jersey's forests!

Maine-to-Florida urban trail celebrates 25 years

Rare plants and animals need help!

Ban offshore drilling and seismic testing off NJ coast!

Summertime and the digging is easy

Is the elusive bobcat here to stay?

NJ water supply plan rings alarm bells

NJ's Piedmont: Formed by volcanoes and erosion

Defend public health and safety in state budget

'Magical' early 17-year cicadas

June and open space: Perfect together

Hit the trails on June 3, National Trails Day

Socializing with nature

Preserve land - and state's in lieu of taxes program

New Jersey's 'marl' pits yield dinosaur discoveries

Vernal pools: Now you see 'em, now you don't

State targets illegal dumpers in parks and forests

Former governors and elected leaders stand up for environment

Join CSAs to support local farms, save money, eat better

Weather extremes may be New Jersey's new normal

Bald eagles and ospreys rebound in New Jersey

Pine Barrens prescribed fires: A renewal force

Take a walk on the bottom of the sea!

Energy efficiency saves money and land - and creates jobs!

The Pines of March

Trees are more social than you think!

New Jersey's geological 'layer cake'


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