NEW YORK, NY (Feb. 18, 2021)—Seeking to accelerate land conservation in the eastern U.S. to counter climate change and its impacts, the Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the launch of its $18 million Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund (ALPF), which will focus, in part, on protecting key forested sections of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. This first-of-its-kind fund is aimed specifically at safeguarding some of the nation’s most biologically rich and climate-resilient landscapes. The initiative aligns with the Biden administration’s recently announced plan to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and waters by the year 2030 to leverage natural climate solutions, protect biodiversity, and slow extinction rates.
Harnessing the carbon-capturing role of forests to combat climate change, the ALPF seeks to conserve at least 10,000 acres in key portions of the three states. The funding is part of the ALPF’s larger effort to conserve 50,000 acres along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains, which contain the world’s largest broadleaf forest, are responsible for the majority of U.S. forest carbon sequestration, and provide essential climate refuge for plants and animals.
“Now more than ever, our future depends on forests. By putting climate change front and center, the Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund will help protect the land that matters most as we take on the largest environmental challenge of our time,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. “While a changing climate can create overwhelming uncertainty, the conservation of forests can go a long way toward helping wildlife and people adapt, while reducing emissions through carbon storage and sequestration.”
“The Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund will be a transformative and wonderful opportunity to expand regional conservation efforts," said Jeanne Ortiz of Audubon Pennsylvania, who serves on the Fund’s Advisory Committee. "This initiative will play a pivotal role in targeting conservation on some of our most treasured and critical places, such as the forests of the Kittatinny Ridge — which help address climate change by storing carbon, and provide habitat for migration of plants, birds and other wildlife in response to a changing climate."