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Funding for Community-Owned Forests
foundations and programs, along with many
others, provide funding for forest conservation, management,
in some cases land acquisition. Local and
regional funders, such as family and community
foundations and corporations with a presence in your
also be good sources of financial support. Your local library also may
have good resources for researching grantmaking foundations and
corporations and access to databases that require a subscription. Below
you will also find directories
listing many other funding sources for conservation projects.
Program-related investments can provide financing for land purchases, and community forestry bonds and New Markets Tax Credits are examples of other innovative financing mechanisms for community forests. Finally, several books provide detailed guidance on buying land for conservation.
Land and Easement Acquisition
of these programs require a non-federal funding match, and some require
coordination with state government agencies.
|Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund||Funds
projects, including land
acquisition, in support of approved
recovery goals or Habitat Conservation Plans for candidate, proposed
endangered species. Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
|Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative||Provides
funding for the military to work with
state and local governments, non-profits, and private landowners to
secure conservation easements to prevent encroachment near
and training areas.
|Forest Legacy Program||Provides
fuding to acquire
conservation easements or fee simple title to environmentally sensitive
private forest lands. Administered by the USDA Forest Service.
|Land and Water Conservation Fund||Provides
grants to state and local
governments for acquisition, planning or development of outdoor
sites. Administered by the National Park Service.
|North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Grant Program||Supports
protection, acquisition, restoration, and/or
enhancement of wetland and associated upland habitats for the benefit
migratory birds and other wildlife. Administered by the U.S. Fish and
|Wetlands Reserve Program||Assists
restore, enhance and protect wetlands through purchase
of conservation easements on wetland areas and up to 100%
cost of their restoration. Administered by the Natural Resources
|Forest Management and Conservation|
|EPA Clean Water Act Funding||The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency makes grant and loan funds
available, through state, tribal and territory water quality agencies,
to state foresters, private organizations and private landowners for
projects to help forest managers protect water resources. See EPA Funds Available for Forestry
Projects for more information and examples.
may consider requests for land
in addition to other conservation and management initiatives.
|Acres for America||A partnership
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wal-Mart to permanently
critical wildlife habitat.
grants to protect wild and natural
areas, including campaigns for land acquisition, with a focus
on recreational lands.
acquisition, protection, improvement and management of land, forests
and other natural assets.
|Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation||Makes
grants to protect lands that contribute to regional
ecosystem health in the Chicago area and the low country of
|Open Space Institute||Funds strategic
through fee simple or conservation easement through grants for
projects in the Northern Forest, and loans for projects in New
Jersey, the Northern Forest, the Southern Appalacians, western
Massachusetts and the Greater Hudson Valley.
|Strong Foundation for Environmental Values||Makes small
grants ($1,000-5,000) in Northern
projects, including land acquisition, that instill an ecological ethic.
|Forest Management and Conservation|
|The foundations listed below do not fund land acquisition, but they do fund land conservation and management generally and may be able to assist your project with support for certain management or conservation projects.|
Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
Makes grants, primarily in New Jersey and elsewhere in the Northeast, to support healthy ecosystems and promote healthy, liveable and sustainable communities.
Jesse B. Cox Charitable Foundation
Makes grants to protect and conserve critical natural resources in New England.
Merck Family Fund
Makes grants in the Eastern U.S. focusing on sustainable forestry, support and participation of residents of impacted areas, and protecting ecologically valuable land.
Norcross Wildlife Foundation
Makes grants for equipment, tools and materials to support land protection for wildlife habitat.
Roy A. Hunt Foundation
Makes grants to protect and conserve natural resources and healthy ecosystems, including sustainable forest management.
Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation
Makes grants to organizations that work in forested landscapes and implement integrated approaches to enhancing ecology, the local economy, and community.
Directory Project List of Community Foundations
lists over 100
community foundations across the United States.
Other Funding Information Directories
|Building Better Rural Places||Guide to
federal agency programs to support sustainable forestry,
agriculture, conservation and community development; includes
funding, technical assistance and information resources.
|Conservation Capital: Sources of Public Funding for Land Conservation||From The Wilderness Society’s Ecology and Economics Research Department, describing federal programs that fund land and resource conservation in the U.S. The guide focuses on the East, but the examples are applicable across the country.|
Environmental Grantmakers Association
Directory of private foundations and corporations that fund environmental conservation projects.
training and databases on grantmaking foundations, grant research, and
proposal writing. Many of their foundation databases require a
subscription, but there are excellent free resources, including a free
online course in basic proposal writing.
for Community-Based Forestry Work in the Northern Forest
||A comprehensive Forest Service desk guide to grants and funding sources for Community-Based Forestry.|
|Red Lodge Clearinghouse||Resources
related to collaborative
forest management, including a searchable database of
foundations and other funding sources for forest management.
such as the Eddy
and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and the Norcross
high-risk loans to support land and forest conservation. Also see The
Grantsmanship Center's Basic
Guide to Program-Related Investments.
Other Innovative Financing Mechanisms
|Community Forestry Bonds||US Forest Capital
promotes the use of taxable or tax-exempt revenue bonds for the
purchase of forest or agricultural land by qualified buyers.
|New Markets Tax Credits||Coastal Enterprises, Inc. has used New Markets Tax Credits to finance the purchase of working forest lands for economic development projects in Maine.|
Publications on Buying Land for Conservation
Conservation Capital: Sources of Public Funding for Land Conservation
Ann Ingerson. The Wilderness Society, 2004.
A comprehensive guide describing the primary federal programs that fund land and resource conservation in the United States, summarizing both little known federal funding sources and available state and local programs, with a focus on the Eastern U.S.
A Field Guide to Conservation Finance
Story Clark. Island Press, 2007.
A comprehensive book on land conservation financing aimed at local and regional organizations; covers both traditional and cutting-edge financial strategies, outlining tools for raising money, borrowing money, and reducing the cost of transactions; covers transfer fees, voluntary surcharges, seller financing, revolving funds, and Program Related Investments (PRIs).
Conservation Finance Handbook
Kim Hopper and Ernest Cook. Trust for Public Land, 2004.
A guide to generating public financing for local, state and private conservation projects through local, voter-approved conservation finance measures.
Doing Deals: A Guide to Buying Land for Conservation
The Trust for Public Land. Land Trust Alliance, 1995.
A comprehensive guide to buying land for conservation, covering working with landowners and government agencies, surveys, appraisals, and negotiating.