March 11, 2015|By | Climate
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It was 1985 –four years before an energy company would propose the first tree planting “carbon offset” scheme for their emissions  - when Pat Noonan started the Conservation Fund as the first environmental nonprofit dedicated to both environmental preservation and economic development.  The new organization completed its first project in that year – the conservation of 1,245 acres in Lake Champlain, VT but within 10 years the Fund had already protected more than one million U.S. acres. By 2005 the Fund had more than quadrupled that number by helping to protect five million acres nationwide including 296,000 acres in NY, VT and NH – America’s biggest multi-state forest conservation deal.  Simply put, The Conservation Fund was making land conservation a viable economic choice.

It is with this foundation, rooted deep in the trees that spurred our efforts to address climate change and habitat loss by protecting and restoring forests.  In 2004, we protected and began to sustainably manage 24,000-acres of redwood and Douglas fir forests on California’s North Coast, safeguarding habitat for wildlife– including species like coho salmon and the Northern Spotted Owl. Shortly after in 2005, the Go Zero program was launched aimed at helping individuals, companies and foundations meet carbon reduction goals while restoring habitat for animals such as the Louisiana Black Bear and the American Alligator.  Over more than a decade, with the help of carbon financing, these two initiatives been able to protect 125,000 acres of working forest and restore 25,000 acres of forestland by planting more than 10 million trees. 

Since then, from the Mississippi River Valley to California’s North Coast, The Conservation Fund has remained a leader in forest carbon across the country. We now have three California projects that have all been validated to the Climate Action Reserve Standard. These forest properties were among the first and largest to receive verification as a source of greenhouse gas reductions under the protocols of the Climate Action Reserve. Five of our reforestation projects have been validated at the gold level under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards—no other group in the nation has as many. Two of these projects are the first and only North American reforestation projects to achieve CCB verification.

We develop our forest carbon projects with careful consideration of both climate and community benefits. Our projects are real, verifiable, permanent, and additional.  Our commitment to these lands also ensures the growth of native species, cleaner air and water, enhanced recreational areas, and stronger local economies. 

The Conservation Fund’s carbon programs illustrate that a vision outlined 30 years ago resonates still today; conservation in the United States can address our most critical environmental issues while making good economic sense.

So, from the carbon team, Happy 30th Anniversary to The Conservation Fund - we are honored to contribute to the mission.

To learn more about The Conservation Fund’s 30 years of conservation please visit our new website at www.conservationfund.org.