To meet the pressing need for forestland conservation, we need to increase the pace and scale of our work. Launched in 2009, our Working Forest Fund is a tool to do just that. It buys us time. It is a dedicated source of conservation bridge capital that allows us to quickly acquire threatened forests with high conservation value. While we own, restore and sustainably manage these lands as working forests, we work with our conservation partners over a number of years to raise the funds to permanently protect them. Learn more in this Working Forest Fund Program Overview (PDF).
TCF pioneered the Working Forest Fund to address a major conservation challenge: the loss of America’s large-scale, privately-help forests in response to major shifts in the timber business. In the late 1990s, the integrated forest products companies began divesting their lands. By 2006, more than 90 million acres had been sold, either lost to development or purchased by investors. More than 1.5 million acres of forestland in the U.S. are lost to development every year.
Conserving the nation’s working forests is the greatest land conservation challenge in the country today. Large, intact working forests are a critical part of the nation’s infrastructure, providing clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, significant carbon sinks to help address climate change, exceptional wildlife habitat, and support for more than 2 million jobs in America.
Working Forest Fund dollars “work” in the sense that they are continually re-invested. Once a project is completed and the forestland has been placed in responsible ownership under permanent protection, funds from that transaction are typically used to purchase or finance another working forest property. Look at the image below to see an example of how each transaction creates an investment pool that can be revolved perpetually, providing leverage, a replenishing source of working capital, and the possibility of a small return on investment even for charitable dollars. As new contributions grow this active financial supply in the WFF, we are better equipped to meet the scale and pace of the challenge of rapidly diminishing, large and intact forestland.