Enter your email address to receive notifications about new posts & articles in your inbox.
Home    |   Print Edition

Print Edition

Farming with Trees: Reforming U.S. Farm Policy to Expand Agroforestry and Mitigate Climate Change

Agroforestry systems have enormous potential to mitigate climate change. These systems incorporate trees and shrubs into agricultural production, increasing both soil carbon sequestration and the amount of carbon stored in biomass. Even the most conservative estimates find that agroforestry sequesters two to five times more carbon per acre than the most effective—and better- known—climate-friendly practices for annual crops, such as no-till agriculture and cover crops. Agroforestry also offers substantial environmental and economic benefits: clean water, reduced fertilizer and pesticide use, greater resiliency, and higher profitability per acre. Yet there are significant legal and policy barriers to its expansion in the United States. For the first time in the policy literature, this Article reviews the emerging scientific research on agroforestry. The Article then analyzes how federal programs for agricultural loans, subsidies, research, and education favor annual monocultures over agroforestry practices. It concludes with a comprehensive set of reforms designed to expand agroforestry.

Sep 09, 2021
Lingxi Chenyang, Andrew Currie, Hannah Darrin, and Nathan Rosenberg

Struggling to Find a Rapanos Nexus: Maui and the Expansion of Clean Water Act Regulation

The Supreme Court has long struggled to define the scope of federal jurisdiction over pollution control under the Clean Water Act (CWA). During the Court’s last term, that issue returned to the forefront in County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The case involved pollution from a wastewater treatment facility that reached the Pacific Ocean and caused coral die-offs at a nearby beach park. However, the facility did not discharge pollutants directly into the Pacific, but rather through groundwater. The Court heard the case to answer the question of whether pollution that reached federally covered waters indirectly, such as through groundwater, required CWA permits. On the way to the Supreme Court clash, an unusual relationship between a local government and an industry-aligned law firm led the county to reframe the case from a factual disagreement to a clash over the jurisdictional scope of the CWA.

Sep 09, 2021
James Pollack and Frank Sturges

An “Unfulfilled, Hollow Promise”: Lyng, Navajo Nation, and the Substantial Burden on Native American Religious Practice

Many Native American religious practices are linked to sacred sites— places in the natural world that have been used for ceremonies and rites since time immemorial. Often, particular ceremonies and rituals can only be performed at these locations. Many such sacred sites are located on what is, today, public land owned by the federal government. The government has at times desecrated, destroyed, or barred access to sacred sites, rendering Native religious exercise extremely difficult or impossible.

Aug 18, 2021
Joel West Williams and Emily deLisle

Sustainable Communities or the Next Urban Renewal?

Inadequate housing supply in California’s most expensive metro areas drives a statewide housing crisis that challenges climate policy implementation, fair housing goals, and poverty reduction. Many scholars and policy makers agree that increasing dense infill transit-oriented residential development (TOD) in high-cost metro areas could address this housing crisis while also mitigating the impacts of climate change. But some advocates and scholars liken state policy that promotes TOD to twentieth century urban renewal—contending that state-incentivized TOD disproportionately displaces lower income communities. To explore this issue, and to examine the relative influence of both state law promoting TOD and local law regulating land use in generating inequitable outcomes like displacement, we collected land use and housing data from high- cost cities across California. 

Jun 25, 2021
Moira O’Neill, Giulia Gualco-Nelson & Eric Biber