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.
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.
What makes efforts to preserve land harmonize with efforts to promote commerce? In this article, we review several examples. Entrepreneurs learn to bolster terrain for hikers (who drink beer), historically sensitive consumers, and fellow merchants. These examples show how creative approaches to promoting conservation and community-based development can yield ongoing benefits.
Several recent reports, as well as observations from experts in the field, demonstrate a changing landscape of philanthropic conservation giving. Now, foundations more often incorporate broader social and environmental issues into conservation work. They also frequently approach conservation through the lens of climate change.
Financial modeling is an emerging application for land trusts. It could make a great difference in their ability to forecast and plan for various future financial scenarios. At this year’s Land Trust Alliance Rally conference during the “Your Future: Financial Modeling for Long-Term Stability” workshop, the Dutchess Land Conservancy of Dutchess County, N.Y., presented a financial model it developed.