Hayfield, Hunterdon County

Ecosystem Service Valuation Approaches and Carbon Mitigation Considerations for Garden State Agriculture

The ability of natural and working lands (including forests, farmland, ranchland, grassland, wetlands, and urban lands) to sequester, or store, carbon is as an opportunity for mitigating climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon in vegetation and soil.

This report evaluates “payment for ecosystem services” (PES) to better understand various models of valuing and incentivizing carbon sequestration in New Jersey agriculture. Given that models for natural lands could be applicable to agriculture, and approximately 20% of New Jersey farms are woodland, the report also explores models for valuing ecosystem services for forests and wetlands.

The authors draw upon literature reviews and interviews with 50 experts from over 30 governmental, nongovernmental, academic, and private sector organizations. The report includes a review of the mitigation potential of soil carbon in agriculture, including knowledge gaps and methods to increase soil organic carbon. This is followed by a discussion of various models of ecosystem services in the United States from agriculture, forestry, and wetlands, with a focus on enhancing the use of agricultural land as a carbon sink. Lastly, a synthesis of considerations for New Jersey agriculture identifies barriers, gaps, uncertainties, and research needs as well as opportunities for agricultural producers in the Garden State.


Marjorie Kaplan
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Jessica Paolini
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Sara Kelemen
University of Maine

Stephanie Murphy
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Mark Robson
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey