Climate Catalyst Program

Across the country, communities and ecosystems are experiencing climate change and grappling with its unknowns. How much will temperatures rise and how quickly? How will these changes impact the forests, lakes, trails, and wildlife we protect?

Despite this uncertainty, scientists agree: land protection is, and will remain, a key strategy for ensuring that natural systems -- and the plants, animals, and people that depend upon them -- can continue to thrive.

Since 2012, OSI has been helping land trusts develop effective approaches to conserving land in a rapidly changing climate. Complementing our capital grants program that funds the acquisition of land that is resilient and stores and sequesters carbon, OSI has supported over 70 land trusts in developing climate-aligned conservation plans and offered workshops, webinars, and trainings to over 3,000 participants.

OSI’s Catalyst Program currently focuses on addressing three climate issues: habitat resilience, forest carbon storage, and flood hazard mitigation. We support conservation groups and communities by offering planning grants and technical assistance, authoring guidance documents, and hosting workshops.

Guidance Documents

OSI works with partners to distill research and best practices into practical guides to inform strategic land protection and land management. See several examples of this work below.

Freshwater Flooding

The Role of Land Protection in Mitigating Freshwater Flooding Hazard: This report summarizes five land protection and conservation planning strategies that harness land protection to curb flood impacts and outlines the critical role that land trusts can play in supporting community resilience as the climate changes.

Climate Resilience

Conserving Nature in a Changing Climate provides a user-friendly workbook for land trusts and other conservation organizations to gain the knowledge and tools to fulfill their critical missions, even in the face of uncertainty. With a basic knowledge of relevant climate science and the tools described in this guide, conservation leaders can revisit and revise their land protection goals, and confidently explain to funders, board members, and landowners why their efforts matter now more than ever. The workbook, developed in partnership with the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Collaborative and a team of land trust advisors, includes a free online mapping platform to help land trusts identify climate resilient sites. This tool, built for the Northeast, complements The Nature Conservancy’s Resilient Land Mapping Tool.

Carbon Mitigation

Meeting the Challenge of Climate: How Land Trusts, Policymakers, and Public Agencies Can Achieve Carbon Goals Through Strategic Forest ProtectionDeveloped in consultation with scientists and experts at American Forests, The Nature Conservancy, and the Land Trust Alliance, this guide provides criteria for the selection, completion, and successful management of land protection projects for the capture and storage of forest carbon.

Six Simple Steps: Evaluate the Contribution of your Land Protection Project to a Low Carbon FutureThis short ‘how to’ guide walks through a series of steps for using an online tool to evaluate how much carbon a forest protection project stores today, and how much additional carbon could be sequestered by 2050.

Climate Communications

How to Talk About Climate Change: This report from the Land Trust Alliance and the Open Space Institute offers guidance to help land trusts connect on climate issues and effectively communicate about the benefits of protecting land with climate in mind.

Workshops & Trainings

Sorting through the vast amount data and scientific concepts related to climate change can be overwhelming. OSI frequently offers webinars, in-person trainings, and conference presentations with guidance and approaches to help land trusts address climate impacts in their communities.

To date, in OSI’s workshops and presentations we have covered topics of terrestrial climate resilience, carbon mitigation, sea-level rise, wildlife corridors, flood hazard mitigation, and climate communications.

Capital Grants

OSI’s education and outreach complement our Appalachian Landscapes Land Protection Fund. For more information, please visit the Fund page.

Next Steps to Apply

Please note that OSI and Land Trust Alliance are no longer accepting Letters of Interest for the 2021 Land and Climate Grant Program.

Applicants invited to submit a full proposal to OSI's Land and Climate Catalyst Planning Program have until September 15, 2021 to submit their application through OSI’s online grant portal.

Please sign up here to receive notification about future requests for proposals and updates on OSI’s Climate Catalyst program.

If you have any questions, please contact OSI Conservation Planning Coordinator Hallie Schwab: [email protected].

Program Inquiries

Hallie Schwab

Conservation Planning Coordinator


General Inquiries

Yasemin Unal-Rodriguez


(212) 290-8200 x1311

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