Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New study looks at aggregation & mitigation to finance forest conservation…

The Program on Conservation Innovation at the Harvard Forest has released a new research publication, Financing Forest Conservation Across the Commonwealth: Using Aggregation and Mitigation to Conserve the Forests of Massachusetts. I worked on the study over the past year with James Levitt and several others. I met Jim at Harvard after his guest lecture in the course taught by Mark Leighton on Conservation Biology and Sustainable Use of Forested Landscapes. He has been a great mentor and I owe him a great deal of thanks for his introduction to the field of Conservation Finance.

Last year Jim invited me to work on this case study on forest aggregation in Massachusetts, which is a pioneering effort led by a group of individuals and organizations to increase the pace of land conservation in a region threatened by parcelization and development. The goal of this effort is consistent with the new Harvard Forest Wildlands and Woodlands Vision for the New England Landscape.

In order to complete the research I had to turn down a couple of TA offers, took some time off from my work at Armenia Tree Project to attend meetings at the Harvard Forest, and to attend meetings of the Financing Forest Conservation Board of Advisors at the State House, at Appalachian Mountain Club, and at the New England Forestry Foundation.

The forest aggregation program highlighted in this report is an inspiring effort to achieve landscape-scale conservation that takes natural capital, social capital, and financial capital into account. It was even highlighted by the New York Times as a conservation finance innovation. I would like to extend my thanks to Jim and the many leaders of this effort that are highlighted in the report and that supported this research, including the Harvard Forest and the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.