Protecting Forests and Communities
As The Conservation Fund watched millions of acres of working forestlands come up for sale year after year, they realized they needed a new approach. If they were going to help keep these properties as working forests, they needed to step in when the most ecologically significant ones came up for auction.
They pioneered a unique model in 2009 that allows them to acquire at-risk privately held forests, put a conservation easement in place, and then hold these forests on their balance sheet until a permanent conservation outcome is found. Once the working forest is acquired by one or more public agencies, best practices of sustainable forestry are locked in and the land cannot be developed.
So what is a working forest? It refers to forestland that is managed sustainably, allowing the harvest of wood for local industries, while ensuring the forest grows more each year than is logged, protecting all of nature’s benefits.
By protecting the jobs linked to working forests, The Conservation Fund is living up to its unique dual charter in the US of both conservation and economic development.