EMMAUS, PA (Nov. 9, 2021) – The Open Space Institute (OSI) announced today the successful conservation of 2,700 acres along the Appalachian Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania. The property, containing forests that are highly effective at storing carbon and providing biodiverse habitat in the face of climate change, also marks the first conservation victory of OSI’s groundbreaking Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund.
The Penrose Swamp Barrens property was protected by the Wildlands Conservancy with a grant from OSI’s Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund, and is home to wetlands and forests including rare pine-oak barrens. With its protection, the land has been transferred to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry for the expansion of Weiser State Forest.
The Penrose Swamp Barrens is the first of 13 projects, together spanning 18,000 acres from Tennessee to Maine, selected for support by OSI under the inaugural grant round of its $18 million Appalachian Landscape Protection Fund. The first-of-its-kind Fund was launched earlier this year to respond to the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and to support more equitable approaches to land conservation. Capitalized by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, OSI’s Fund focuses on protection of forests along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains, home of the world’s largest broadleaf forest. This region plays an irreplaceable role in storing the nation’s forest carbon and providing essential climate refuge for plants and animals.
“The successful conservation of Penrose Swamp Barrens is a model victory for protecting the fragile forests of the Appalachian region in the face of development,” said Peter Howell, Executive Vice President for OSI. “We commend our partners the Wildlands Conservancy, the State of Pennsylvania, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, for securing the successful conservation of this irreplaceable property.”