Natural and Working Lands Action Plan

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The natural systems upon which we depend on are essential to communities, economies, and ecosystems. North Carolina's Natural and Working Lands initiative offers opportunities to build ecosystem resilience and sequester carbon while continuing to deliver economic growth. The NCDEQ and NCDNCR called upon expert stakeholders — including land management experts, nonprofit organizations, and leaders across the state representing federal, state, and local agencies and universities working in conservation, forestry, agriculture, and coastal and urban planning — to develop the Natural and Working Lands Action Plan. This plan builds on a wide range of actions and measures that protect, restore, and enhance the lands and coastal areas that provide vital health, social, economic, and environmental benefits. The stakeholder recommendations prioritize short, cost-effective, and pragmatic solutions as well as identify long-term actions that require more effort, funding, and agency or legislative support.

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• Enhance the ability of the land to sequester carbon and mitigate greenhouse gases.
• Build resilience in ecosystems and communities.
• Provide public health and ecosystem co-benefits.
• Create economic opportunities for agri-business, recreation, and tourism.
• Ensure implementation of any action is socially equitable.

The expert stakeholders mentioned above are supporting this initiative. They were divided into six Land Sector Subcommittees for the development of this report. Click on each sector below for more information.


Implementation of nature-based solutions across North Carolina requires focused, coordinated efforts. Some solutions begin working in a short timeframe, such managing trees in urban areas, where the carbon and soil benefits are realized quickly. Others, such as wetland restoration, may take decades to fully realize the carbon and ecosystem co-benefits. Due to the time required to restore a functional green infrastructure that mitigates the impacts of climate change and sequesters carbon, the implementation must start now across North Carolina, on a large-scale.

Expert Stakeholders that participated in the development of the Action Plan are currently working toward implementing these recommendations. NWL leads will continue to coordinate implementation efforts by state agencies and other stakeholders.

Stakeholder implementation report form


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