Protecting Critical Habitats of Threatened and Endangered Species:
The Conservation Fund
With assistance from the Foundation, The Conservation Fund (TCF) works to protect important landscapes and provide capital to finance conservation efforts, while ensuring that the economic fabrics of communities are thoroughly woven into the process. This partnership has safeguarded three million acres of critical habitat and open space in all 50 states. Much of the recent conservation work is accomplished through TCF’s Working Forest Fund, which acquires and aggregates large land tracts to protect whole landscapes and their flora and fauna that can suffer from the impacts of land fragmentation. Part of TCF’s success is due to its ability to build partnerships with timber investment companies and state agencies that see the advantages of long-term conservation of working forestlands.
Three separate 2017 Foundation grants will support TCF’s conservation efforts. An investment of $15 million ($1.5 million as a grant and $13.5 million as a PRI) will protect nearly 15,000 acres near Skinner Mountain in Fentress County, Tennessee, part of the largest stretch of contiguous forest in the Appalachians. The land is home to a variety of threatened and endangered species, including some that live in the underlying limestone, making the subterranean habitat as important as the forests.
A $10 million PRI will support a TCF and Lyme Timber partnership to protect more than 18,500 acres in the two- million-acre Pennsylvania Wilds Region. Situated in the headwaters of the Ohio River and Chesapeake Bay in one of the Foundation’s priority landscapes, this large timberland tract will advance the successful expansion of Pennsylvania’s elk restoration efforts, enhancing the species movement and ensuring long-term habitat protection.
With another $10 million PRI, TCF will work with The Forest Land Group to protect more than 22,700 acres in New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts. In addition to the land’s timber value to the local economy, the streams flowing from the highlands help sustain naturally reproducing trout populations, as well as plant communities unique to the region.