In this episode of "Voices of Conservation Finance," our guest was Bethany Olmstead, Conservation Manager with Working Forest Fund, a program of The Conservation Fund. She shared how her background in land conservation guides her work with The Conservation Fund to finance the acquisition and protection of forestland in the United States. She discussed how her passion for protecting land for wildlife habitat and public access can also provide economic benefits for local communities.
Sustainable forestry represents a major portion of conservation finance’s investable landscape. According to a 2016 Forest Trends report, “State of Private Investment in Conservation 2016,” sustainable timberland investments accounted for approximately 34 percent of all private conservation investments from 2004 to 2015.
Conservation managers and entrepreneurs who are looking to make their projects stand out as investment opportunities should be sure to supply the information that investors want. Impact investing experts interviewed by Conservation Finance Network expressed a surprising lack of interest in most impact metrics and measurements aside from carbon sequestration. They instead indicated that they prioritize honest assessments of risk. They also value an understanding of how an investment opportunity can fit into a larger portfolio.
There is a growing gap between available impact capital and conservation investments. This has become a major focal point for investment professionals in the field. One reason for this trend may be that conservation investments are not meeting investor expectations due to a lack of quality opportunities.
This article by Paula Chamas and Mark Berry is part of the Conservation Finance Network Toolkit, a resource designed for professionals who want to learn or communicate about the industry. Carbon stored in forests has become a great opportunity for conservation-minded landowners to obtain an additional stream of revenue.
The community of Ixtlán de Juárez in Oaxaca, Mexico is a great example of the multiple economic, ecological and social benefits of a sustainably managed community forest. Forest management and ownership has fostered social and economic prosperity in this community while protecting the unique environmental values of its land. It is an indigenous Zapotec community located in one of the poorest areas of Mexico in the rugged mountains of the Sierra Juarez. Revenues from forest management have been reinvested over the years in the creation and growth of different community-owned enterprises.
What does it take to make a forest collapse ecologically? How can the corporate sector prevent this collapse of its natural capital? According to Kerry Cesareo, vice president of the Forests Program at World Wildlife Fund, there are threats to the natural capital of the private sector that lie outside its current practices and need to be addressed. Along with traditional conservation programs and partnerships, the private sector is seeking to play a larger role in investing in programs that keep forests from reaching their ecological tipping points.
Simply put, business in its current form is a disaster for the environment. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Imagine businesses that make money by improving the land and communities around them. Imagine an economy that rewards those who nourish and restore the environment, instead of those who plunder and degrade it. What would those businesses look like?
As severe wildfires leave their charred mark on the western United States this season, Conservation Finance Network interviewed Blue Forest Conservation staff about the Forest Resilience Bond project. This massive collaboration is bringing private finance to bear on ecological restoration to reduce the risk of these catastrophes.
Have you seen the brilliant crimson and amber of fall foliage in New England? Every year our trees make tourists and natives alike stop and stare in amazement as our region’s forests put on a final show in preparation for winter. But our vibrant forests are at risk. New Englanders are losing 65 acres of forest per day, or 24,000 acres per year, to dispersed and fragmented residential and commercial development. If this trend continues, the region will lose another 1.2 million acres — an area nearly twice the size of Rhode Island — over the next 50 years. And it is not just the fall fireworks that we stand to lose.