ALPF Sutherland

2021 Year in Review: Addressing Climate Change

As the climate continues to change, land conservation plays an essential role for people and wildlife alike. 

Our forests store carbon in trees and soil, and naturally mitigate the impacts of fiercer storms and rising waters. This year, the lands added to state and national parks and forests by OSI store an estimated 1.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 1.5 million cars. These lands are expected to sequester an additional 225,000 metric tons by 2050, a critical deadline for climate action.

Ravens Point Tn So Cumberland Recreation Steven Alvarez
Tennessee's Southern Cumberlands region is a focus area of OSI's new Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund.
Image Credit: Steven Alvarez

To help achieve President Biden’s Thirty by Thirty initiative, OSI this year launched its groundbreaking Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund (ALPF) to harness land conservation to fight climate change and protect biodiversity. This first-of-its-kind initiative focuses specifically on land protection surrounding the spine of the Appalachian Mountains, which contain the world’s largest broadleaf forest, quietly sequester more of the nation’s carbon than any other region, and provide essential climate refuge for plants and animals.

Just months after the launch of the fund, OSI partnered with Wildlands Conservancy to protect its first project under the ALPF, the 2,700-acre Penrose Swamp Barrens; and distributed $140,000 to support the efforts of 14 organizations across the east to integrate carbon mitigation and resilience into land management and strategic conservation plans.

Building on its dedication to on-the-ground protection for flood mitigation, OSI issued an insightful report, awarded local planning grants, and gave a series of virtual presentations, all around harnessing the benefits of conservation for flooding. As the nation grapples with more severe flooding due to excess precipitation under climate change, which over the past three decades has already caused an excess of $75 billion in damages, the life-saving role of land protection to curb flooding will only grow more apparent.

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2021 Year in Review: Protecting Land for Wildlife

In 2021, across the east OSI’s efforts to protect land made a real difference to the sensitive, threatened, and endangered species that call these landscapes home.