Release Date: 09-08-2016
Funds will go toward innovative model for conservation finance
PORTLAND, Ore. — Ecotrust Forest Management (EFM) announced today their receipt of a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its innovative approach to forestland investing and management. The USDA Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) received by EFM was part of a total 2016 national award of $26.6 million for 45 projects to help develop and demonstrate cutting-edge ideas to address natural resource conservation challenges on private agricultural and forest lands. The particular focus areas for funding this year were water quality, conservation finance, and boosting the number of historically underserved producers.
EFM was awarded $150,000 to design an investment vehicle that is capable of aggregating private capital at a scale, and can be combined with public and philanthropic dollars to achieve measurable impact goals around forestland productivity and conservation. Recognizing that the magnitude of capital needed to incentivize the adoption of best practice management on private forestlands has risen beyond the capacity of public and philanthropic funders alone, EFM’s project aims to develop a forestland management strategy that is capable of attracting private investor capital to address natural resource challenges.
“EFM is thrilled to launch the development of its next forestland investment fund with the support of the CIG award. We believe that with our 12 year track record in forestland investing, expertise in conservation finance and deepening relationships in the region, we are primed to scale our approach to forestland management in the region.” said Bettina von Hagen, CEO of EFM.
“The Conservation Innovation Grant program is a highly competitive conservation grant program that helps put the very best conservation tools to work on privately held farms and forests, for maximum environmental impact,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This investment will offer farmers, ranchers and forestland owners new ways to protect their natural resources and new revenue streams to keep their operations viable, building on the record amount of conservation work that has already been done under this Administration. Demand for this type of support outpaces what USDA can provide alone, but outside partners are willing to make additional investments because they see the good it can do for the environment and for their communities.”
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are competitive grants that stimulate the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural and forestland. Through CIG, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service partners with public and private entities to accelerate the development of innovative and transferrable solutions that address natural resource areas of critical concern.
A full listing of this fiscal year’s selected projects is available here: www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/cig.
About Ecotrust Forest Management
Ecotrust Forest Management (EFM) is a private forestland investment management company that strategically acquires and manages ecologically significant forestland in the western United States on behalf of investors and forestland owners. Founded in 2004, by our parent company Ecotrust, we currently manage 27,000 acres of Northwest forestland on behalf of investors and forestland owners to enhance forest health and productivity, and to produce a diverse array of forest products and services including timber, biomass, carbon, and improved habitat and water quality. More at www.ecotrustforests.com.
About the CIG Program
The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service has offered Conservation Innovation Grants since 2004 to stimulate the development of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on farms, ranches and forestlands. Since 2009, through this program the USDA has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements, working with a record 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect land and water on more than 400 million acres nationwide. Funding for CIG comes from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, part of the 2014 Farm Bill. For an interactive look at USDA’s work in conservation and forestry during the Obama Administration, visit Caring for our Air, Land and Water.