NEW YORK, NY (July 27, 2022)—Seeking to further harness the capacity for strategic land protection to counter climate change and its impacts, the Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced a major new effort of its Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund (ALPF) to conserve key forested areas in western and central Pennsylvania.
The new $4 million expansion, catalyzed with a $2 million commitment of grant and loan funds from the Richard King Mellon Foundation that is being matched by other private funders, seeks to protect forests within a 10-million-acre focus area that contain Pennsylvania’s largest reserves of forest carbon and habitat prized for its ability to serve as a haven for wildlife, even withstanding a changing climate. The targeted area stretches from the Pennsylvania Wilds in the state’s northern tier southward through the Allegheny Front, and from Laurel Highlands to the Maryland border.
“The Open Space Institute is proud of its role in harnessing land protection to secure the forests that are so critical to Pennsylvania and to us all,” said Peter Howell, OSI’s Executive Vice President of Conservation Capital & Research Programs. “Increasingly, science and higher resolution carbon data are highlighting just how important forests are in combatting climate change. OSI sincerely thanks the Richard King Mellon Foundation for its significant commitment, and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation whose early support helped to launch the Fund.”
“The work of the Open Space Institute and other conservation partners have helped to create greater understanding and awareness of the extraordinary ecological value of Pennsylvania’s forests and waters,” said Sam Reiman, Director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “Protecting these habitats provides critical refuges for wildlife, while also allowing us to address climate change by storing carbon naturally. We are pleased to partner with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and others to protect these important ecosystems in our backyard.”