Beginning in 2011, The Land Trust for Tennessee, The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, and The Wildlands Network received a total of $65,000 over two years to engage southeastern forest owners and SFI program participants in exploring forest conservation easements on special sites and to provide technical assistance to landowners who are considering donating or selling easements.
North Carolina Coastal Land Trust
SFI’s grant to The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust promoted the conservation of ecologically important forest and aquatic habitats through The Cape Fear Arch Conservation Collaboration. The Trust partnered with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the North Carolina chapter of the Nature Conservancy to conduct community education, outreach workshops, training, and technical assistance focused on utilizing conservation easements to protect vulnerable forests.
Land Trust for Tennessee
Through this grant The Land Trust for Tennessee partnered with SFI and Louisiana-Pacific Corporation to successfully implement forest management planning workshops for landowners of working forest conservation easement properties. Additionally, over the past two years, The Land Trust for Tennessee and its partners, including the Tennessee Division of Forestry and the University of Tennessee Forestry Extension, have completed twelve working forest conservation easements. The easements protect over 26,400 acres of land from development while allowing for timber harvesting in accordance with approved forest management plans that emphases sustainable forestry practices.
The Wildlands Network employed grant funds to produce a report on the benefits of working forest conservation easements for corporate landowners. It was especially targeted at the newer owners of large tracts of forestlands such as Timberland Investment Management Organizations (TIMOs) and Real estate Investment Trusts (REITs), with an emphasis on southern U.S. forests. Key findings of the report include that working forest easements provide a critical early source of return on new property acquisitions, can substantially reduce property tax bills, and provide generous income tax credits while allowing opportunities to participate in current and emerging markets for ecosystem services such as carbon credits. The report also found that conservation easements and sustainable forest management generate public goodwill towards the company via positive media attention and can boost employee morale.
View the Wildland Network’s Report: The Business Rationale Behind Forest Conservation Easements.
Supporting the SFI Standard
These activities support SFI principles related to sustainable forestry (Principle 1); Protection of Water Resources (Principle 3); Protection of Biological Diversity (Principle 4); Aesthetics and Recreation (Principle 5). It also supports SFI Standard Objective 4: Conservation of Biological Diversity including Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value; Objective 6: Protection of Special Sites; Objective 8: Landowner Outreach; Objective 11: Promote Conservation of Biological Diversity, Biodiversity Hotspots and High-Biodiversity Wilderness Areas; Objective 16: Training and Education; and Objective 17: Community Involvement in the Practice of Sustainable Forestry.
Louisiana-Pacific Corporation; Resource Management Service LLC; North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; The Nature Conservancy – North Carolina Chapter.
Land Trust Shares Grant to Preserve Forest Sites
The Tennessean June 3, 2011
SFI Conservation Grant Promotes Conservation Easements in Southeast U.S.
Press Release – May 31, 2011