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Title: Engaging ranchers in market-based approaches to climate change mitigation: opportunities, challenges, and policy implications

Author: Gosnell, Hannah; Robinson-Maness, Nicole; Charnley, Susan.;

Date: 2011

Source: Rangelands. 33(5): 20-24

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Unsustainable rangeland management and land conversion are significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming; however, rangelands also can be managed to mitigate climate change by enhancing carbon uptake through increased plant production and biological sequestration. According to a 2000 USFS General Technical Report, there are opportunities to make distinct categorical rangeland condition improvements on approximately 90% of privately managed acres in the United States. Management of these lands is a critical factor to be considered as policies regarding climate change mitigation are crafted. One way to engage ranchers in climate change mitigation is to develop a carbon market that compensates them for managing their lands in ways that sequester carbon to offset the emission of greenhouse gases by others. Between 2008 and 2010, approximately 1,000 US ranchers participated in the US voluntary carbon market through the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). Drawing on results from interviews conducted in 2009 with 28 ranchers in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico enrolled in the CCX program, we describe some of their experiences. Additional interviews with key informants, including aggregators, brokers, range scientists, and agency personnel, inform our discussion of challenges associated with including ranchers in carbon markets and issues that will need to be addressed to develop relevant policy.

Keywords: climate change, ranchers, rangeland management, carbon sequestration, carbon markets

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Gosnell, Hannah; Robinson-Maness, Nicole; Charnley, Susan. 2011. Engaging ranchers in market-based approaches to climate change mitigation: opportunities, challenges, and policy implications. Rangelands. 33(5): 20-24.


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