I have proposed that an important and underemphasized contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation can be made by changing human use, care, and management of land and vegetation. The very same land management strategies that address climate change can also have positive effects on many of the other forms of ecological degradation that are endemic to industrial societies. This proposal is focused on terrestrial rather than marine ecosystems for several reasons. There are well-known and established methods to manage and safely in¤uence the terrestrial carbon sink. Composting, planting trees and other perennial plants, keeping soil covered with mulch and preventing erosion by water and wind are examples. These methods can be implemented quickly on a small scale by individuals who want to take concrete, meaningful action. Collective actions on a larger scale can be implemented by local, state, regional, national, or international groups, governments, or corporations. Interventions in carbon sequestration processes in marine ecosystems or through carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are currently unproven, dangerous, and not available for near-term use. There is a rapidly developing body of evidence that enhanced sequestration and protection of carbon in the terrestrial system is a necessary and important component of a comprehensive strategy for stabilizing the global carbon cycle and reducing the degree and impacts of anthropogenic climate change and widespread ecological degradation.*

The global carbon cycle involves reservoirs or pools of carbon and the ¤ux (movement) of carbon between these reservoirs. In simple terms, the carbon cycle imbalance created in the Anthropocene involves a massive and unnaturally rapid transfer of carbon from the terrestrial/biosphere

(soil and plants) reservoir and the lithosphere (the Earth’s crust, containing fossil fuels) reservoir to the atmosphere and ocean reservoirs. This transfer of carbon has been predominately accomplished by removing fossil fuels from the lithosphere, burning them, and transferring their carbon content in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere and oceans. Much of the carbon stored in soils and plants has also been transferred to the atmosphere by burning, drying, and persistent and widespread disturbance and exposure of soil to sunlight and oxygen. In equally simple terms, this carbon cycle imbalance can be partially restored by leaving what remains of the fossil fuels in the lithosphere (or returning carbon to the lithosphere or deep oceans through unproven CCS technologies) and by restoring and protecting terrestrial ecosystems so they sequester and store more carbon for longer periods.