In the late 1990s, the Northern Forest – the largest and wildest remaining expanse of forestland east of the Mississippi – was at risk due to changes in the forest products economy.
We launched the Northern Forest Land Protection Fund in 2000 to support broad conservation efforts, to prevent the fragmentation of the forest and to protect its rich biodiversity and economic value.
Why Northern Forest Land Protection Fund
Responding to global market forces in the 1990s, forest product companies that owned vast timberlands in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and the Adirondacks began selling and subdividing their lands.
OSI joined an intensive effort by conservation groups, states and the federal government to preserve large, contiguous forestlands in order to maintain their ecological integrity and economic benefits.
We developed recommendations for better forest management on conserved timberlands to enhance biodiversity. That study led to the creation of the Northern Forest Protection Fund to support the preservation of large landscapes of habitat reserves together with working forestland managed according to careful sustainability standards.
Impact of the Fund
The Fund was established with capital grants from the Doris Duke Charitable, Surdna, Jane’s Trust, Merck Family Fund, Norcross Wildlife, and Quebec Labrador Foundations.
With 16 grants and nine loans totaling $25 million to large national land trusts and regional conservation organizations, the Northern Forest Fund was a catalyst for the protection of more than 1.5 million forested acres across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and southern Quebec.
The Fund’s impact extended beyond land protection. Its requirement that projects meet sustainable forestry standards spurred the adoption of improved forest practices within working forest easements and led to start-of-the-art forest management strategies.
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