Promoting Healthy Forests and Farms

Photo of trees and Allegheny Mountains in Dolly Sods Wilderness area, Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia

U.S. forests and farmlands play key roles for our communities and for wildlife - as much as 80 percent of American wildlife depends on the health of our forests. In addition to providing habitat for our nation's fish and wildlife, forests and farmlands are critical for protecting our water resources and helping address global warming.

NWF works to conserve forests and farmlands and promote effective management of these lands to help solve global warming while also meeting our food, fuel, and animal needs. In particular, we work in the following areas:

Conserving U.S. Forests 

The U.S. has a rich forest heritage containing over a dozen major forest ecosystems that provide a tremendous diversity of wildlife habitat. NWF works to promote sustainable use of our nation's public and private forest lands, and to elevate their critical role in fighting climate change both nationally and internationally.

Climate-Friendly Farming

Domestically, nearly 902 million acres--or a little more than 50 percent of the lower 48 United States--are currently managed as cropland, pastureland, or rangeland. These working lands must provide critical habitat for our nation's fish and wildlife, protect our water resources, and help mitigate global warming, while also meeting demands for food, fiber, fuel and animal feed. In addition to working on the intersection between farming practices and global warming, NWF has a robust program focused on farmland conservation and habitat protection.

Sustainable Bio-energy

Biofuels and biomass energy produced by plants directly from the sun's energy can be used to produce some of our electricity and liquid fuels, and should be part of the solution to global warming pollution. NWF is working to ensure that sustainable land use, carbon benefits, and environmental protections are in place so that the next generation of biofuels and biomass energy is done right.

Wildlife and the Farm Bill

The Farm Bill is among the largest sources of conservation funding in the federal government. NWF works to ensure that worthy Farm Bill conservation programs are authorized at appropriate levels, structured to achieve maximum wildlife and environmental benefits, and fully funded during the annual appropriations process.

Related Resources
  • Clean Water Grows

    2013 NWF report provides 6 examples of successful cover crop outreach efforts in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and Maryland.

  • Counting Cover Crops

    2013 NWF report finds that less than 2% of cropland in the Mississippi River Basin is planted to cover crops.

  • Roadmap to Increased Cover Crop Adoption

    In June of 2012, NWF gathered approximately 30 stakeholders in Minneapolis, Minnesota to discuss opportunities to increase cover crop adoption.  The roadmap is a collaboration on the part of these stakeholders to be used as a guide in taking next steps to promote this future-friendly farming practice.

  • Biomass Supply and Carbon Accounting for Southeastern Forests

    A study of southeastern forests in the U.S. finds that in the long run, burning wood instead of fossil fuels to make electricity can reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but not soon enough to prevent worsening the conditions leading to global climate change.

  • Growing a Green Energy Future

    NWF report calls for strong agriculture and energy policies that create jobs, curb global warming, pollution, enhance national security, protect wildlife and uphold soil and water quality.

  • Future Friendly Farming

    NWF offers techniques that farmers and ranchers can use to increase profits, reduce carbon pollution, and protect soil, water and wildlife habitat.


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