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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.

Allen W.L.,Conservation Fund
Environmental Practice | Year: 2012

Over the past decade, green infrastructure has evolved from a novel buzzword into a recognized planning practice. Definitions of green infrastructure inevitably have been tailored to appeal to diverse constituents with message points that address a particular professional discipline or resource issue. Commonly accepted definitions emphasize the interconnected network concept and are mostly differentiated by the scale at which green infrastructure planning is implemented. This commentary lays out an operational framework for green infrastructure that can be advanced at all scales, from the largest landscape to the smallest site, and illustrates examples of operationalizing the framework at each scale. What is ultimately needed is a seamless quilt of planning and implementation across scales and jurisdictional boundaries that make sense in terms of their benefits but also in terms of their economics, and every one can play a part in making that a reality in their communities. © 2012 National Association of Environmental Professionals.

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.

Many environmental issues can be attributed to misaligned distribution of the costs and benefits of conservation. For instance, biodiversity represents value for the global community, but biodiversity protection imposes various costs on local communities that depend on forests, marine areas, and other habitats of conservation importance in developing countries. Correcting this misalignment requires presenting these local communities with appropriate incentives. Conservation agreements - negotiated transactions in which conservation investors finance direct social benefits in return for conservation actions by communities - are one tool for doing so. This direct incentive approach departs from Integrated Conservation and Development (ICDP) approaches by explicitly linking benefits to verified conservation performance by resource owners/users, thus requiring effective performance monitoring protocols. In doing so, conservation agreements parallel the logic of easements and related mechanisms used in developed countries, but adapt that logic to property rights and governance challenges that characterize developing country contexts. This paper will present the conservation agreement model using examples of agreements supported by Conservation International's Conservation Stewards Program (CSP), and drawing on a recent portfolio-wide assessment of these experiences. Elements to be considered include conservation outcomes as well as socio-economic impacts and financial and institutional sustainability. Individual agreements in the CSP portfolio vary widely with respect to conservation objectives, including efforts to protect individual species, improve natural resource management, prevent carbon emissions from deforestation, and reinforce protected areas; the paper will argue that the conservation agreement model readily lends itself to tailoring for particular conservation aims as well as community development priorities. The paper will conclude by summarizing the strengths and limitations of the conservation agreement model and identifying key considerations for scaling up the approach to advance conservation and poverty alleviation at regional and national levels.

Hong L.Z.,Stanford University | Li J.,Stanford University | Schmidt-Kuntzel A.,Conservation Fund | Warren W.C.,University of Washington | And 2 more authors.
Genome Research | Year: 2011

Next-generation sequencing technologies offer new approaches for global measurements of gene expression but are mostly limited to organisms for which a high-quality assembled reference genome sequence is available. We present a method for gene expression profiling called EDGE, or EcoP15I-tagged Digital Gene Expression, based on ultra-high-throughput sequencing of 27-bp cDNA fragments that uniquely tag the corresponding gene, thereby allowing direct quantification of transcript abundance. We show that EDGE is capable of assaying for expression in >99% of genes in the genome and achieves saturation after 6-8 million reads. EDGE exhibits very little technical noise, reveals a large (106) dynamic range of gene expression, and is particularly suited for quantification of transcript abundance in non-model organisms where a high-quality annotated genome is not available. In a direct comparison with RNA-seq, both methods provide similar assessments of relative transcript abundance, but EDGE does better at detecting gene expression differences for poorly expressed genes and does not exhibit transcript length bias. Applying EDGE to laboratory mice, we show that a loss-of-function mutation in the melanocortin 1 receptor (Mc1r), recognized as a Mendelian determinant of yellow hair color in many different mammals, also causes reduced expression of genes involved in the interferon response. To illustrate the application of EDGE to a non-model organism, we examine skin biopsy samples from a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and identify genes likely to control differences in the color of spotted versus non-spotted regions. © 2011 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

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.

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