Under the Conservation Research Program (CRP), the United States government is encouraging landowners to be convert land to natural vegetation or agriculture, such as corn and soybeans.
But a study into the program has shown that the carbon cost to convert land will have a bigger effect on the environment than previously believed.
According to the Michigan State University study, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released during land conversion.
The study recommends growing CRP grasses because of the immediate environmental benefits. Unlike soybeans and corn, CRP grasses does not create carbon debt.