While more public funding sources have emerged recently for conservation finance, particularly around working farms, landowners with means and motivation remain a staple of the private conservation process. These landowners are largely white, and their properties most often located in rural and suburban areas. The distribution of conserved land and public open space has followed suit, with low-income communities and communities of color markedly deprived of access to privately conserved open spaces and less frequently affiliated with private land conservation as land donors, visitors, members, staff or board.
Huge corporations have promised to zero out their carbon impact, so prices for natural carbon sinks should see upward pressure starting now. Three forest carbon finance specialists thrash out three paths to success, navigating standards and science and the occasional drag that comes with creating a marketplace in the midst of an ecological upheaval. The market seems poised to grow large enough for all approaches- and all manner of questions.
How does a farmer with no desire to keep growing crops become a catalyst for financial value and land preservation? The Washington Farmland Trust worked with a farmer at the end of his career to craft a financial package that would keep his land from developers, sustain ecosystem services, and set forth a model for generating impact-investment participation in land preservation around Seattle.
Easements unlock value for landowners and preserve land for everyone else. With challenges to our ecosystem and economy coming faster and from more directions, conservation leaders need tools that apply more quickly or in quirkier situations. This toolkit looks over a range of techniques that extend conservation to situations where easements would hardly apply.
Forest carbon offset companies see a source of credit, and value, in small forest owners. These owners, in turn, see offsets as a way to sustain their assets. What does this emerging field need to normalize about valuation, verification and communication to make deeper financial and ecological impact?