The Paris Agreement states that, "Parties should take action to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases ... including forests." Approximately 125 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon are exchanged annually between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere (two-fifths of the total exchange of carbon between the earth and the atmosphere). Forests account for 80 percent of this exchange. U.S. forests currently serve as a carbon "sink," offsetting approximately 13 percent of U.S. emissions from burning fossil fuels in 2011, and from 10 to 20 percent of U.S. emissions each year. These ecosystems are invaluable to the U.S. for their carbon sequestration abilities and for mitigating the impacts of climate change, as well as their habitat value. It is important to create policies that ensure the carbon sequestration abilities of ecosystems are properly maintained through improved forest management and conservation that encourages both carbon sequestration and habitat conservation and restoration.
Alongside farmers, ranchers, and forest managers, the National Wildlife Federation is working to adopt and regularly employ practices that sequester carbon while improving wildlife habitat and natural resources. These practices include:
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