Policy and Finance - Initiatives

With many land conservation organizations operating with small staffs and few resources, W&W has undertaken several initiatives to support organizations dedicated to land conservation. Through the Northeast Forest Network, W&W is helping build a coalition positioned to advocate for increased forest conservation. Additionally, a range of conservation finance efforts have been developed to broaden organizations’ access to funding beyond traditional fundraising, using innovative funding models and highlighting the economic benefits of land conservation.

Dead River, ME - Photo by Spencer MeyerDead River, ME — Photo by Spencer Meyer

Northeast Forest Network

The Northeast Forest Network is a growing coalition of conservationists and advocates across New England and New York whose aim is to galvanize people and organizations in support of the concept that protecting forests from development and managing them well are the most important things we can do to mitigate the impacts of climate change while protecting clean water and air, enhancing our health, growing our economy, sustaining nature and natural systems, and building more resilient communities. Learn more.

Conservation Finance Network

A partner of W&W, The Conservation Finance Network (CFN) advances land and resource conservation through expanding the use of innovative and effective funding and financing strategies. Learn more.

Conservation Economics 

Land conservation provides economic benefits to communities and cities by providing clean air, drinking water, access to local food and outdoor spaces for recreation, and more. Highstead has published a series of Issue Briefs that provide an overview of the economic value of land as well as a series of Community Conservation Economics Case Studies that exemplify the power of land conservation to boost local economies in New England. The two series provide accessible and relevant information for policy-makers, community leaders, and practitioners. Learn more.

Conservation Funding Trends

Funding for land conservation comes from many sources including public finance and individual philanthropy. Private foundation giving has accelerated the conservation of forests and farms across New England and New York over the past few decades. In New England alone, the rate of land protection over the past 25 years was four times higher than in previous decades, and nearly half of the region’s 9.8 million acres of conserved land was protected during this period. However, a recent sharp decline in public funding, especially from state programs, has prompted concern about how to raise sufficient resources to stem the development of an average 24,000 acres per year of forest in New England. The New England landscape requires new local, state, and federal policies, as well as new approaches to private investment, that will help finance the conservation of our forests and farms to ensure we can rely on them forever. That’s where conservation finance comes in. Learn more.