The Conservation Fund is an American environmental non-profit with a dual charter to pursue environmental preservation and economic development. Since its founding in 1985, the organization has protected more than 7 million acres of land and water in all 50 states, including parks, historic battlefields, and wild areas. The Fund works with community and government leaders, businesses, landowners, conservation nonprofits and other partners to create innovative solutions that integrate economic and environmental objectives. The Fund also works with communities to strategically plan development and green space and offer training in conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources.The Conservation Fund was founded in 1985 by Pat Noonan, former head of the Nature Conservancy. The current CEO is Larry Selzer. About 140 full-time staff work in the Fund's headquarters, located in Arlington, Virginia and in offices in several states across the U.S. including California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming. Wikipedia.
News Article | May 2, 2017
"Most of the Interior Department's programs would receive more money under the fiscal 2017 omnibus funding bill lawmakers released earlier today, with one notable exception: the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The $1 trillion spending package would provide $12.3 billion for Interior, $42 million more than enacted levels, for the remaining five months of fiscal 2017, which ends Sept. 30. The Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service all would see more money under the bill, which included few policy riders for the agencies. But the spending package would cut the LWCF, which has broad bipartisan support and is set to expire in fiscal 2018. The bill would fund it at $400 million, $50 million less than the fiscal 2016 enacted level."
News Article | April 17, 2017
Flying foxes are in deep trouble. Almost half the species of this type of fruit bat are now threatened with extinction. The bats face a variety of threats, including deforestation and invasive species, but the main one is hunting by humans, says Christian Vincenot, an ecological modeller at Kyoto University in Japan, who highlights their plight in a perspective article in Science this week. The bats are hunted for food, for their supposed medicinal properties and for sport. They are also killed by farmers to protect fruit crops. Around half of the 90,000 bats on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius have been killed in a government-sponsored cull in the past two years alone. The threats are particularly severe for those species that live on islands scattered across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, which is most of them – 53 of the 65 species of flying fox are island-dwellers. “Islands exacerbate all these issues, because there are fewer places for the animals to hide,” says Vincenot. But it is also islands that have the most to lose if the bats are wiped out. On many islands, fruit bats are the only pollinators and seed dispersers, especially for fruits with large seeds, says Vincenot. If the bats are lost, it could have a cascading effect throughout the ecosystem and the economy. For example, the durian fruit, a multi-million dollar crop, is pollinated almost exclusively by fruit bats. “The bats are a keystone species,” says Scott Heinrichs, founder of the Chicago-based Flying Fox Conservation Fund. “When you take them out, the ecosystem will eventually collapse.” Vincenot is calling for island nations to recognise the importance of the bats, and provide them with legal protection – and properly enforce the laws that already exist – to save the bats from extinction. Heinrichs says that recovery is possible. The flying foxes on Pemba Island in the Indian Ocean were reduced to just a few individuals in the 1980s, but the population recovered to more than 20,000 over the course of 20 years of conservation efforts. But it won’t be easy. “There aren’t a lot of people out there who want to conserve them,” says Heinrichs. Read more: Speedy bat flies at 160km/h, smashing bird speed record; How bats made the leap from gliding to flying
News Article | May 1, 2017
The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, will champion nonpartisan discussions on Capitol Hill this week during its annual Advocacy Days. The 109 meetings that 110 land trust professionals from 40 states have scheduled with lawmakers and staff come at a time when many voters feel political division is the most important problem facing the country today (source: Quinnipiac University survey of 1,171 voters nationwide, March 30-April 3). To help Republicans and Democrats focus on known common ground, the Alliance is fostering nonpartisan discussions on – and advocating for – land conservation. “I believe that land, land conservation and land trusts play an important role in helping bridge our political divide and build a consensus around the need for a healthy, vibrant environment,” said Andrew Bowman, the Alliance’s president. “I fully realize there are true differences in people’s deeply held political beliefs. Nevertheless, I challenge all of us to examine how we can use land conservation to help unite our nation.” Land Trust Alliance Advocacy Days, which runs May 1-3, will build support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the reauthorization of the Farm Bill and other public policies related to land conservation. Scheduled speakers include U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Additional elected and appointed officials have been invited to address the land trust professionals attending Advocacy Days. For more information about Advocacy Days, including a complete schedule of events, visit http://www.landtrustalliance.org/issues-action/tools-tips/advocacy-days. Media interested in joining any activities should contact Joshua Lynsen, the Alliance’s media relations manager, at jlynsen(at)lta(dot)org or 202-800-2239. Interviews with Alliance principals and certain event participants can be arranged by request. Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,000 member land trusts supported by more than 200,000 volunteers and 4.6 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at http://www.landtrustalliance.org.
News Article | May 8, 2017
This year, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. and The Conservation Fund celebrate a decade-long partnership to address climate change and habitat loss by protecting and restoring America’s forests. To commemorate a decade of partnership, C&S is furthering its commitment to forests and sustainability by donating to The Conservation Fund’s Working Forest Fund® to protect working forests in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. This donation will offset the forest footprint of approximately 20,000 wood pallets used to transport and store the food and goods C&S distributes to its customers. An estimated 45 million acres of working forest are at risk of development and fragmentation over the next 15 years. With support from partners including C&S, The Conservation Fund is protecting some of the most at-risk and ecologically significant forestlands by providing bridge capital to purchase threatened forestland. With the grant from C&S, the Fund can begin to implement sustainable forest management practices that ensure a steady supply of sustainably harvested fiber, while raising the remaining funds necessary for the forests’ permanent protection. “We’re proud to be among the supporters of The Conservation Fund, one of the nation’s most respected and effective environmental organizations,” said Richard B. Cohen, Chairman and CEO of C&S Wholesale Grocers. “Working together to plant trees and protect working forests is part of our aim to be a more sustainable enterprise. Our partnership with them enhances our investments in recycling, energy efficiency, and logistics technology,” he noted. “C&S Wholesale Grocers is a proven leader in innovation and sustainability,” said The Conservation Fund’s president and CEO, Larry Selzer. “Our nation’s conservation challenges can only be solved by bringing leading companies and environmental groups together. We are honored to have been a partner for the past decade with C&S Wholesale Grocers to conserve our natural resources and build stronger communities—now and in the future.” According to the National Wood Pallet and Container Association, there are more than 1.8 billion pallets in service in the United States each day, and millions more are used to ship goods internationally. The United Nations Economic and Social Council reports that 742 million wooden pallets were made from U.S forests in 2011. In addition to providing wood for the creation of pallets every year, America’s working forests provide timber for construction and pulp for paper and packaging. Forests support millions of jobs within a $112 billion forest products industry. Protecting forests can have a direct, positive impact on industry supply chains that rely on a steady supply of responsibly managed timber to meet corporate goals for sustainable sourcing. C&S has also worked with The Conservation Fund each year to measure the carbon footprint of its corporate headquarters buildings, several of its distribution centers, and the estimated round-trip commute of its employees. The Conservation Fund plants native trees in wildlife refuges across the country to offset the carbon emissions. Over time, these trees will trap carbon dioxide, filter pollutants from waterways, and provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Since 2005, C&S has contributed to the planting of nearly 100,000 trees across more than 250 acres in six national wildlife refuges in states where the company has operations and employees, including California, Louisiana, and Texas. These trees will trap an estimated 75,000 tons of carbon emissions as they mature. Donations have also contributed toward the protection and sustainable management of redwood forests in Northern California. C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., based in Keene, NH, is the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the U.S. and the industry leader in supply chain innovation. Founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores, C&S now services customers of all sizes, supplying more than 14,000 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases, and institutions with over 140,000 different products. To learn more, please visit http://www.cswg.com. C&S community involvement programs support initiatives to fight hunger and to promote the health and enrichment of communities that are homes to the company's employees and facilities. To learn more, visit http://community.cswg.com. At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.8 million acres of land. http://www.conservationfund.org
News Article | May 4, 2017
The Mau Forest Complex in Kenya's Rift Valley is the largest of the country's five watersheds. It is also the largest closed canopy forest in East Africa. Several ecosystems in Kenya, including the Maasai Mara National Reserve, and in neighbouring Tanzania depend on water originating from the complex. However illegal logging, ill-planned settlements and fallout from post-election violence in 2007/08 deteriorated forest resources, threatening livelihoods, food security, tourism and water supplies. In response, the Government of Kenya sought the technical assistance of FAO to help the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) improve the watershed and promote sustainable livelihood activities. In 2010, FAO launched a two-year project as part of its Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) that combined technical training through farmer field schools (FFS), business planning and access to banking services to help transform the livelihoods of communities living near the forest. In the aftermath of the violence that erupted after Kenya’s presidential election in 2007, the community forest associations, managed by the KFS, had stopped functioning. In response, the Government created an emergency programme to protect the Mau Forest, and sought to revitalize the community forest associations as a way to promote social cohesion. With assistance from FAO, 24 farmer field schools were set up with members of the community forest associations that trained more than 800 men and women on viable ways to earn a living while protecting forest resources. "People who were once fighting each other were now learning how to conserve the forests together, how to prepare nurseries and plant trees and how to diversify and boost production," said Takayuki Hagiwara, FAO officer involved in the project. The project also helped rebuild a critical mass of certified FFS master trainers in Kenya, from just 2 to 12, and trained a pool of extension workers and farmer facilitators. FAO also introduced an innovative mobile phone-based monitoring system whereby farmers could provide regular, real-time updates on the FFS, including on attendance and performance of KFS facilitators. Developing group-based microenterprises To encourage farmers to complete the one-year livelihood and farm forestry field school programme and to apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge, the project, through a partnership with Kenya's Equity Bank, provided loans to graduates to develop group-based microenterprises. "We wanted to link the farmers to a formal banking system, to officially recognize them as members of the private sector from the informal sector," said Hagiwara. The loan was part of a revolving fund named the ‘Mau Forest Conservation Fund’, managed by Equity Bank and owned by the KFS. This arrangement allowed the money to be recycled and for farmers who repaid their loans to borrow again. In order to secure a loan, however, farmers had to produce sound investment proposals. Thanks to training on RuralInvest, an FAO-developed software programme, the groups were able to evaluate their plans' financial feasibility, including market opportunities. With this analysis, farmers could tweak or even overhaul their proposals, especially if what initially sounded like a good idea for a business would actually lose money in the long run. Easy access to loans The revolving fund gave farmers the chance to access credit with a financial institution − an important project achievement, according to Esther Muiruri, Equity Bank's general manager of marketing-agribusiness. "The project introduced a community that was largely 'unbanked' to banking for the first time through financial literacy training and access to loans for investment in farming activities. At the same time, Equity Bank learned how to finance farm forest activities." Around the time the project was rolled out, Equity Bank was establishing agency banking in Kenya, enlisting retail outlets to offer financial services in village shopping centres where farmers could make transactions. Beneficiaries of FAO’s project were among the first customers to use the agency banking. Today, Equity Bank has some 17000 agents, providing banking services to small-scale farmers throughout the entire country. The project also introduced mobile phones to track investments and loan repayments. To date, most of the scheduled loan repayments were made on time. Many groups − even individual farmers − continue to borrow from Equity Bank to support their businesses. Positive offshoots The KFS is now equipped with a workable approach to promote sustainable livelihood activities among communities bordering the Mau Forest Complex and involve them in conserving the Complex's natural resources. In 2014, the Forest and Farm Facility, a multi-donor funding programme hosted by FAO was also launched in Kenya to promote sustainable forest and farm management activities. Although many beneficiaries were hesitant at first to join farmer field schools, the latter created a safe space for discussion and exchange. Working towards a common goal helped rebuild friendships and trust. Farmers in the project area are now earning money from diverse activities − from planting woodlots and nurseries with indigenous trees and improved fruit trees, to growing vegetables, raising livestock and keeping bees. According to the project team, the supported activities have not harmed the ecosystem, and the KFS has reported a considerable decline in illegal logging and charcoal production since the end of the project. Now when farmers spot illegal practices, said Hagiwara, they "pick up the phone and call the forest officers."
News Article | December 13, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who has represented Montana’s at-large congressional seat for one term, to serve as secretary of the Department of the Interior, according to an individual with firsthand knowledge of the decision. Zinke, who studied geology as an undergraduate at the University of Oregon and served as a Navy SEAL from 1986 to 2008 before entering politics, campaigned for his House seat on a platform of achieving North American energy independence. He sits on the House Natural Resources Committee as well as the Armed Services Committee. A lifelong hunter and fisherman, the 55-year-old Zinke has defended public access to federal lands even though he frequently votes against environmentalists on issues ranging from coal extraction to oil and gas drilling. This summer, he quit his post as a member of the GOP platform-writing committee after the group included language that would have transferred federal land ownership to the states. [Trump taps former Texas governor Rick Perry to head Energy Department he once vowed to abolish] “What I saw was a platform that was more divisive than uniting,” Zinke said at the time. “At this point, I think it’s better to show leadership.” Trump also opposes such land transfers, but the provision made it into the official Republican platform. Zinke recently criticized an Interior Department rule aimed at curbing inadvertent releases of methane from oil and gas operations on federal land as “duplicative and unnecessary.” “Clean air and clean water are absolute top priorities when we talk about responsible energy development, however the final rule issued by the Obama administration does nothing to further protect our resources,” he said in a statement. “This rule is a stark reminder that we need to invest in infrastructure projects like the Keystone pipeline, so we don’t need to flare excess gas.” [Environmentalists and scientists brace for a future clash with Trump] During his time in Congress, Zinke has established a 3 percent voting score with the League of Conservation Voters. But he has broken ranks with the panel’s GOP majority on occasion, opposing a measure by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) that would have allowed each state to buy up to 2 million acres in U.S. Forest Service land to boost timber production. He has also pushed for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a high priority for outdoors groups. Land Tawney, president and chief executive of the Montana-based Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, described Zinke on Tuesday as “a straight shooter” who has established credibility with outdoors enthusiasts in the state. During a recent meeting with him at a distillery in Whitefish, the congressman’s home town, Zinke walked into the place in flip-flops. “You wouldn’t know he’s a congressman,” Tawney said. “He really prides himself on being a Theodore Roosevelt Republican, and he lives that a little bit more than other people.” [Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump] Outdoors activities such as mountain biking and skiing are a major economic driver in Whitefish as well as in Montana overall, where roughly 200,000 residents have big-game hunting licenses and 300,000 have fishing licenses. Zinke, who has been endorsed by the Outdoor Industry Association, has embraced that sector of the state’s economy. “Hunting and fishing isn’t something we do in Montana, it’s a way of life,” said Tawney, a fifth-generation Montanan. Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership President Whit Fosburgh, whose hunters and anglers group has worked with Zinke, said in an interview that it would be “very supportive of Ryan Zinke” as a Cabinet nominee. “He’s shown courage and commitment to public lands and conservation and [is] someone we think would be an excellent secretary of interior,” Fosburgh said. [Trump transition team for Energy Department seeks names of employees involved in climate meetings] Still, a slew of environmental groups came out Tuesday against Zinke, who opposes safeguards the Obama administration has provided for temporary wetlands and intermittent streams, as well as its temporary moratorium on coal leasing on federal land. While he supported subsidizing renewable energy programs and climate change legislation before being elected to the House, during a 2014 debate he said of climate change, “It’s not a hoax, but it’s not proven science either.” “Zinke embodies the worst kind of magical thinking in Congress: that government welfare handouts can save dying coal companies and crumbling oil and gas giants,” Greenpeace climate campaign specialist Diana Best said Tuesday. “The fact is, coal demand is shrinking globally, and people across America want a Department of the Interior that will protect our precious public lands in perpetuity. That means keeping them off-limits to fossil fuel production and recognizing that the world is moving forward.” Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said the congressman’s “brief political career has been substantially devoted to attacking endangered species and the Endangered Species Act,” while the National Parks Conservation’s president, Theresa Pierno, said he “has repeatedly voted to block efforts to designate new national parks that would diversify the National Park System.” While some Democrats are likely to oppose Zinke’s nomination, the pick does provide the party with one bit of good news: It removes a possible challenger to Sen. Jon Tester, the Montana Democrat who likely will face a tough reelection bid in 2018. Although Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) was a leading contender to lead Interior in recent days, Zinke hit it off with Trump’s oldest son, Don Jr., an avid hunter, and met personally with the president-elect on Monday in New York. In a Facebook post Tuesday evening, McMorris Rodgers wrote, “It was an honor to be invited to spend time with the President-elect, and I’m energized more than ever to continue leading in Congress as we think big, reimagine this government and put people back at the center of it.” Rex Tillerson’s view of climate change: It’s just an ‘engineering problem’ The Arctic just had its warmest year on record ‘by far,’ scientists report EPA changes its stand on fracking, says it can harm drinking water in ‘some circumstances’
News Article | March 1, 2017
Editor’s note [03/01/2017]: On March 1, the Senate confirmed Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary. Read the resurfaced article below for insight into Zinke’s views on public lands and the environment. Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Interior, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke (R), started his confirmation hearing Tuesday by aligning himself with one of the giants of American conservation. “Upfront, I am an unapologetic admirer of Teddy Roosevelt,” Zinke said, adding that Roosevelt “had it right” when he protected millions of acres of federal lands and created the U.S. Forest Service. With a right-wing movement to wrestle control of public lands from the federal government gaining momentum, Zinke’s rhetoric offered conservationists some measure of comfort. The question now, many say, is whether Zinke will walk—not just talk—like Roosevelt, balancing conservation and development on public lands. “While he continues to paint himself as a modern Teddy Roosevelt, his very short voting record shows him repeatedly siding with industry,” says the Sierra Club’s Matthew Kirby, who works on western public lands issues. According to the League of Conservation Voters, only 3 percent of Zinke’s votes in Congress qualify as “pro-environment,” Oil and gas organizations like the Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America applauded Zinke’s nomination, but conservation-minded hunting and fishing groups welcomed it, too. Zinke, in other words, is a bit hard to box in. If confirmed, he will be responsible for a large and diverse department. Most of the federal agencies responsible for managing public lands and wildlife are housed within the Department of the Interior, including the National Park Service; the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages lands for recreation, mining and energy development; and the Fish and Wildlife Service, which works to recover endangered species. The department oversees 500 million acres in total, or about a fifth of the land in the U.S. Most of that land lies in the U.S. West, and it is an unwritten rule that the Interior secretary post goes to a westerner. Zinke has served only one term in Congress and does not have a deep record on natural resources policy, but he is an outdoorsman who learned to hunt on public lands and therefore recognizes their value for recreation and wildlife. He is also from a state where fossil-fuel production on public lands is a cornerstone of the economy, and he believes Pres. Barack Obama’s administration has been too tough on the industry. Zinke’s views on easing energy development on public lands seem largely in line with his party. During Tuesday’s hearing, for instance, Zinke told Sen. John Barrasso he would support the Wyoming Republican’s effort to scrap a recently finalized BLM rule to limit methane waste from oil and gas drilling. Methane is a greenhouse gas as well as a source of energy, but it is often vented or burned as waste in drilling fields where the infrastructure does not exist to capture it and move it to market. The BLM rule would limit venting and flaring, and allow taxpayers to earn royalties on methane now treated as waste. Industry opposes the rule as unnecessary and expensive whereas environmental groups and the Obama administration say it is common sense. Peter Aengst, who works in Montana with the Wilderness Society, says the methane rule is one of the ways in which the Obama administration tried to modernize energy policy on public lands. “The Trump administration has vowed to unravel those (reforms),” he says. “That’s where I think Ryan Zinke is probably most concerning for those of us who care about the wise management of our public lands.” Zinke’s stances on some other big issues he will face as head of Interior are much murkier. He said Tuesday that he would work to restore trust between federal land managers and local communities, promising to be a “listener” rather than a “deaf adversary.” He repeatedly emphasized the need for more collaboration between the feds and locals. But as a congressman he opposed the Obama administration’s attempt to collaborate with states to keep the greater sage grouse from being listed under the Endangered Species Act. The bird is found in 11 western states, and a listing could have led to significant restrictions on land use across more than a hundred million acres. Instead, the administration developed state-based conservation plans that built on existing state efforts to protect the bird. “It’s an unprecedented engagement that happened with private landowners and with state agencies to make sure that bird was not listed,” says Land Tawney, president of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, a Montana-based group that advocates for public lands access and wildlife protections. “Those plans need to be implemented.” Zinke dodged a question on how he would handle sage grouse protections at his hearing. It is similarly unclear where he will come down on controversial national monuments designated by Obama, such as Bears Ears. Utah’s congressional delegation is pressuring Trump to rescind the monument—an unprecedented, and possibly illegal, move—and Zinke would presumably be a close adviser on any changes to the monument. Both Aengst and Tawney are encouraged by a few of Zinke’s other positions, particularly his flat opposition to selling or transferring public lands to states or private interests, along with his support for permanently authorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which funnels oil and gas royalties to projects that promote recreation, wildlife habitat, parks and wilderness. Zinke also said addressing the maintenance backlog at national parks would be one of his top priorities, indicating that money to keep up roads, trails and toilets in the parks should be included in the infrastructure bill President-Elect Donald Trump has promised. All in all, Tawney is optimistic, and expects sportsmen to have a voice in Zinke’s Interior Department. “He’s a straight shooter,” Tawney says. “We’re not going to agree on everything but at least you know where he sits and we can have a conversation.” Others in the conservation community remain skeptical. Kirby argues that opposition to selling off public lands should be a prerequisite for any Interior secretary, not a note of distinction. “You don’t get brownie points for that.” But context does matter. In a different political climate it might not have been newsworthy that Zinke went on record Tuesday saying climate change was not “a hoax” and humans had a role in causing it. Similarly, opposition to disposing of federal lands was not a given among the candidates Trump considered for the job. Zinke is expected to be easily confirmed by the Senate.
News Article | April 20, 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — From boosting solar and wind power to encouraging greater efficiency in new buildings, a bill approved by the Senate on Wednesday makes extensive changes to U.S. energy policy. The bill is the first far-reaching energy bill approved by the Senate since 2007. — Boost renewables such as solar and wind power, as well as natural gas, hydropower and geothermal energy. — Speed up federal review of projects to export liquefied natural gas to Europe and Asia, requiring the Energy Department to make final decisions within 45 days after earlier reviews are completed. — Modernize the electric grid, including strengthening safety standards to increase reliability and allowing smaller, micro-grids in rural areas — Reauthorize the half-billion dollar Land and Water Conservation Fund that protects parks, public lands and water resources, historic sites and battlefields. — Require federal buildings to meet efficiency standards set by President Barack Obama, with a goal of 25 percent reduction in energy use over the next decade. — Establish a National Park Centennial Challenge Fund that would require spending up to $17.5 million a year to match private donations to preserve and improve national park sites across the country. — Establish a $150 million maintenance and revitalization fund to address high-priority deferred maintenance needs of the National Park Service. Money would not be used to acquire new park land. — Allow the energy secretary to sell crude oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve based on market prices, rather than strictly as required for energy security. Senators said selling oil when prices are high could earn taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. — Increase collaboration by the Energy Department with private industry and universities to develop advanced nuclear technologies, including testing and demonstration of reactor concepts. The bill must be reconciled with a House-passed version that boosts fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. Obama has threatened to veto the House measure.
Zimmerman B.L.,Conservation Fund |
Kormos C.F.,WILD Inc
BioScience | Year: 2012
A convincing body of evidence shows that as it is presently codified, sustainable forest-management (SFM) logging implemented at an industrial scale guarantees commercial and biological depletion of high-value timber species within three harvests in all three major tropical forest regions. The minimum technical standards necessary for approaching ecological sustainability directly contravene the prospects for financial profitability. Therefore, industrial-scale SFM is likely to lead to the degradation and devaluation of primary tropical forests as surely as widespread conventional unmanaged logging does today. Recent studies also show that logging in the tropics, even using SFM techniques, releases significant carbon dioxide and that carbon stocks once stored in logged timber and slash takes decades to rebuild. These results beg for a reevaluation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change proposals to apply a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation subsidy for the widespread implementation of SFM logging in tropical forests. However, encouraging models of the successful sustainable management of tropical forests for timber and nontimber products exist at local-community scales. © 2012 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.
Weber T.C.,Conservation Fund
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2011
In the eastern United States, mature hardwood forest provides habitat for many species of native flora and fauna, but is much less common now than historically. This study examined the utility of maximum entropy modeling and spatial application to identify ecosystem types like mature hardwood forest. I performed pilot modeling in Charles County, Maryland, where I compared fine-scale geographic data available locally to coarse-scale data available nationally. As expected, a model constructed with the best locally available data, including LiDAR-derived canopy height and fine-scale soil maps, outperformed a model constructed with nationally consistent data. However, the model using national data nevertheless accurately identified most mature hardwood forest sites and excluded most young forest. I then applied the coarse-scale approach to four states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Average test AUC (area under the receiver operating curve) based on 10 replicates varied from 0.76 to 0.80 when comparing mature hardwood forest locations to general forest locations. The maximum training or test sensitivity plus specificity threshold, depending on the state, captured 78-79% of positive locations while rejecting 74-81% of negative locations. The maximum entropy approach is versatile, and can be applied to other ecosystems and species. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.