Focal Areas

Engaging Large Private Forest Owners in All-Lands Conservation

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Successful landscape-scale forest conservation and management efforts must engage a wide variety of forestland owners. Owners of large areas of forestland (more than 10,000 acres) have a particularly important role to play in the achievement of landscape-scale goals. Their cooperation increases opportunities for attaining conservation benefits at significant scale. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, in collaboration with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the U.S. Forest Service, is working with stakeholder groups to discover new ways to engage these large forestland owners.

So far, the initiative has resulted in:

  1. A workshop in Washington D.C. in March 2016 that brought together a group of large private landowners with federal, NGO, and academic thought leaders to generate ideas for improving engagement on landscape-scale conservation goals. The dialogue was designed to identify barriers to and options for that engagement. A proceedings of the meeting includes a profile of large institutional forestland owners, details the results of a survey conducted to measure their current engagement in conservation activities, and identifies barriers to engaging large forest landowners in conservation.
     
  2. The “All Lands and Large Ownerships: Advancing Landscape Scale Conservation” workshop at the 2016 SFI annual conference in Clearwater Beach, FL. This workshop centered on exploring five topics, with an eye toward developing specific strategies that could improve engagement of large private landowners in landscape conservation outcomes. The topics included: 1) bringing large landowners to the table in conservation policy and agency engagement; 2) facilitating engagement in easements; 3) addressing barriers to large landowner participation in federal assistance programs; 4) seeking opportunities to advance engagement by building value through payments for ecosystem services (PES); and 5) accessing state-level funding for species at risk or other conservation approaches to build value for large landowner participation. Strategies were developed and reach across areas of public policy, methods of conservation non-profit engagement, structures of collaborative processes, and suggestions for how large landowners can maximize benefit from such engagement.
     
  3. The October 2016 Duke chapter of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) symposium in, which focused on large landowners’ engagement in all lands conservation. Discussion centered around landscape ecology, ecosystem services, and public-private partnerships. A Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions paper summarizes ideas generated at these “all lands” meetings and provides a few concrete examples of conservation solutions across local and regional scales that could potentially be replicated to encourage large private landowner engagement.