Natural Capital Investment FundNatural Capital Investment Fund
By the Numbers:
Out of the approximately 750 million acres of U.S. forests, more than 420 million acres are "working" forests, which provide timber for construction, as well as pulp for paper and packaging. Nearly 45 million acres of these forests are at risk of being lost to development.

Through the Working Forest Fund, more than 600,000 acres have been protected in 17 states.
The Working Forest Fund (WFF) addresses an urgent conservation challenge: the loss of America’s last big, intact, privately-held forests. Pioneered in 1998, the WFF acquires and permanently protects ecologically significant forestland, applying expert management and restoration.  Our goal is to ensure forests' vital role in providing clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and economic benefits for communities across America. 

WFF is the only fund of its kind: it buys time.  We offer a dedicated source of bridge capital, and for each property, we develop and implement sustainable forest management plans, and place conservation safeguards.  We then return the forestland to private ownership or public agency stewardship, so that each property remains a protected working forest, boosting its local economy by maintaining jobs.

One of the Greatest Environmental Challenges of Our Time—Protecting America's Working Forests



What is a working forest?

Privately owned forestland, often held by families or large investors, that are managed for forest products. 

The time to act is now. What can you do to help?

The threat to America's working forests is one of the most overlooked and urgent environmental issues of our time, but we have an opportunity to create a better path forward before it’s too late. We hope you will join us in this effort to preserve the working forestlands we all depend on. Please donate to The Conservation Fund today.

WFF infographic

Photo Gallery

The Conservation Fund recognizes that forest certification is a critical component of objective, sustainable forest management and commits to third-party certification of its working forests. When ownership of our Working Forest Fund (WFF) properties is planned to exceed one year, we will seek independent certification under the standards of Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) and/or Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®).

Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) Certificate - PDF
Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) Certificate - PDF

For more information on our forest certification program you may contact David Whitehouse at dwhitehouse@conservationfund.org

Summary of our monitoring program - PDF

WFF Management Plan summary - PDF

Today, more than half of our 750 million acres of forests in the U.S. may be vulnerable to being fragmented and converted to other uses. To meet the pressing need for forestland conservation, the Working Forest Fund (WFF) both quickens the pace and increases the scale of our work. 

INVOLVING COMMUNITIES IN CONSERVATION IS KEY TO SUCCESS


ForestLossInAmerica

The Fund pioneered the WFF as 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. 

Our Working Forest Fund Model

WFF-model
For each WFF property, we develop and implement sustainable forest management plans, placing conservation safeguards on these sensitive lands so the forests will remain intact.  We then return them to private ownership or public agency stewardship.  In this way, each one becomes a protected, working forest, boosting its local economy by maintaining jobs.  The dollars are then reinvested in new projects, helping to protect additional lands and communities.  The WFF Program has protected hundreds of thousands of acres and is active in each major timber growing region of the country.
WFFprojects.7.18.2018

Key Forest Benefits

WFF-Metrics


The time to act is now. What can you do to help?

The threat to America's working forests is one of the most overlooked and urgent environmental issues of our time, but we have an opportunity to create a better path forward before it’s too late. We hope you will join us in this effort to preserve the working forestlands we all depend on. Please donate to The Conservation Fund today

The Working Forest Fund (WFF) evolved from several significant investments The Conservation Fund made in the late 1990s when it ramped up its forestland conservation efforts in response to the changing economic and natural landscape. 

We started with the protection of Champion Forest—nearly 300,000 acres that spanned three states—New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. Champion International announced an open bid process to sell a large portion of their northeastern landholdings—for either all the land at once or for any specific piece. Their offer opened the door to speculators looking for lakefront or riverside property that would yield high profit once subdivided and sold.

After extensive consideration, the Fund weighed the unprecedented opportunity and jumped in, attempting something no conservation organization had tried before—to lead the largest multistate, public-private conservation project in U.S. history.

Our bid won.  We purchased the 294,000-acre tract—keeping 70 percent of the land as a working forest and transferring the remaining 30 percent to public ownership. Protection of 139,000 acres in New York and 132,000 acres in Vermont represented the largest land preservation efforts in each state's history and conservation easements limited further subdivision to ensure long-term protection of the local forest industry.

This complex multistate, multi-partner Champion sale was soon followed by the Fund's facilitation of the 312,000-acre Downeast Lakes Easement in Maine.  We managed New York State's acquisition of a 250,000-acre International Paper working forest easement project in the Adirondacks, and then the purchase of  a 180,000-acre working forest easement in Minnesota. These transactions became a model for large-scale conservation purchases in America. With the acquisition and management of significant blocks of redwood forests in California, our in-house expertise for managing and restoring large-scale forests developed and matured. Building productive relationships with the local business and environmental communities gave us greater confidence to take on more complicated land management projects.

With greater certainty and evidence that our model was viable from both economic and environmental standpoints, the Fund took the next logical step by investing directly in working forests in a number of key forestland geographies. What initially appeared to be a set of unique acquisitions evolved into a new, coherent focus—the Working Forest Fund.