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|Type||charitable environmental organization|
|Headquarters||Arlington, Virginia, United States|
|Method||Conservation by design|
|More than 1 million|
|US$1.29 billion (2018)|
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a charitable environmental organization, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, United States.
Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy has over one million members, and has protected more than 119,000,000 acres (48,000,000 ha) of land and thousands of miles of rivers worldwide. The largest environmental nonprofit by assets and revenue in the Americas, The Nature Conservancy ranks as one of the most trusted national organizations in Harris Interactive polls every year since 2005. Forbes magazine rated The Nature Conservancy's fundraising efficiency at 88 percent in its 2005 survey of the largest U.S. charities. The Conservancy received a three-star rating from Charity Navigator in 2016 (three-star in 2015).
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The Nature Conservancy developed out of a scholarly organization known as the Ecological Society of America (ESA).The ESA was founded in 1915 and two years later formed a Committee on Preservation of Natural Areas for Ecological Study, headed by Victor Shelford. Whereas the Society primarily focused on promoting research, in the course of the 1930s Shelford and his colleagues increasingly sought to advocate for conservation. The divide in viewpoints regarding scholarship or advocacy led the Society to dissolve the committee, and, in 1946, Shelford and his colleagues formed the Ecologists' Union. The latter group eventually took the name "The Nature Conservancy", in emulation of the British agency of that name, which pursued a mission of conserving open space and wildlife preserves. The Nature Conservancy was incorporated in the United States as a non-profit organization on October 22, 1951.
The Nature Conservancy's expanding international conservation efforts include work in North America, Central America, and South America, Africa, the Pacific Rim, the Caribbean, and Asia.
The Nature Conservancy and its conservation partner, Pronatura Peninsula Yucatán, are working to halt deforestation on private lands in and around the 1.8 million acre (7,300 km²) Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, along the Guatemala–Mexico border. In November 2004, 370,000 acres (1,500 km²) of threatened tropical forest in Calakmul were permanently protected under a historic land deal between the Mexican federal and state government, Pronatura Peninsula Yucatán, four local communities and the Conservancy.
The Nature Conservancy's programs in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are working together to build partnerships and enhance the profile of the conservation needs in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by supporting voluntary, private land conservation of important wildlife habitat. In 2007, the Nature Conservancy made a 161,000-acre (650 km2) purchase of New York forestland from Finch Paper Holdings LLC for $110 million, its largest purchase ever in that state. In June 2008, The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land announced they reached an agreement to purchase approximately 320,000 acres (1,300 km2) of western Montana forestland from Plum Creek Timber Company for $510 million. The purchase, known as the Montana Legacy Project, is part of an effort to keep these forests in productive timber management and protect the area's clean water and abundant fish and wildlife habitat, while promoting continued public access to these lands for fishing, hiking, hunting and other recreational pursuits. As a follow-on, in 2015 The Nature Conservancy made a $134 million transaction to purchase 165,073 acres – 257 square miles – of forests, rivers and wildlife habitat in the Cascade Mountain Range of Washington and in the Blackfoot River Valley in Montana. The Conservancy also acquired this land from Plum Creek, including 47,921 acres in the Yakima River Headwaters in Washington and 117,152 acres in the Lower Blackfoot River Watershed in Montana.
In December 2015, The Nature Conservancy announced the finalization of the first ever debt swap in Seychelles aimed at ocean conservation. The new protected area increases the country's marine protected waters from less than 1 percent to more than 30 percent including support for the creation of the second largest Marine Protected Area in the Western Indian Ocean.The debt swap deal was made possible through a partnership with the Seychelles Ministry of Finance, support of debt-holding nations including France, and grants from private organizations led by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
Financing for this effort was organized by The Nature Conservancy's impact investing unit called NatureVest.NatureVest was created in 2014 with founding sponsorship from JPMorgan Chase & Co. with the stated goal of sourcing and putting to work at least $1 billion of impact investment capital for measurable conservation outcomes over three years. For their work on the Seychelles debt restructuring, The Nature Conservancy and JPMorgan Chase were given the FT/ITC Transformational Business Award for Achievement in Transformational Finance The award is given by the Financial Times and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) for ground-breaking, commercially viable solutions to development challenges.
The Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees campaign is an effort to plant one billion trees by across the globe in forests with the greatest need. Each donation results in the planting, protection and restoration of our world's forests. [ better source needed ]
The Plant a Billion Trees campaign has also been identified as a tool to help slow climate change, as the Atlantic Forest – one of the biggest tropical forests in the world – and other forests being restored help regulate the atmosphere and stabilize global climate. The reforestation of the Atlantic Forest has the capability to remove 10 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year. The Nature Conservancy states that this is equivalent to taking two million cars off the road. The Atlantic Forest's restoration could help to slow the process of climate change that is affecting the Earth.
The Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees campaign also aims to protect 10 critical watersheds in the Atlantic Forest that provide water and hydro power to more than 70 million people, create 20,000 direct jobs, and an additional 70,000 indirectly as part of this effort. [ better source needed ]
The Nature Conservancy also features e-cards through their gift a tree program. You can view videos and detailed information about the tree planting on their website. [ better source needed ]The website also features a news feed and an interactive map of the regions being protected, as well as information on many of the plants, animals, and people that are impacted by the plight of the forest and who may benefit from its restoration.
The Nature Conservancy plants trees for every contribution donated by supporters.Some of the seeds being planted in Brazil consist of:
The Nature Conservancy launched the Plant a Billion Trees campaign in 2008.
As a part of this launch, The Nature Conservancy pledged to plant 25 million trees as part of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)'s Billion Tree Campaign. [ better source needed ] This campaign encourages individuals and organizations to plant their own trees around the world and record this action on the website as a tally.
On Earth Day 2009, Disneynature's film Earth debuted, promising to plant a tree for every ticket sold to the film in its first week. This resulted in a donation of 2.7 million trees to the Plant a Billion Trees program.
The Plant a Billion Trees campaign has followed The Nature Conservancy's approach of partnering with larger organizations (such as Disneynature, Planet Green, Penguin Books, Payless Shoesource, AT&T, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, and Visa) to leverage donations from supporters and increase efficiency and effectiveness of the campaign. [ better source needed ]
The Nature Conservancy and its scientists also work with other conservation organizations, local landowners, state and federal officials, agencies, and private companies to protect, connect, and our forests. [ better source needed ]
Over the years, The Nature Conservancy has faced a number of criticisms. They fall into the following main categories:
The Nature Conservancy has ties to many large companies, including those in the oil, gas, mining, chemical and agricultural industries.Its board of directors currently includes the retired chairman of Duke Energy, and executives from Merck, HP, Google and several financial industry groups. It also has a Business Council which it describes as a consultative forum that includes Bank of America, BP America, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, General Mills, Royal Dutch Shell, and Starbucks. The organization faced criticism in 2010 from supporters for its refusal to cut ties with BP after the Gulf oil spill.
Writer and activist Naomi Klein has strongly criticized The Nature Conservancy for earning money from an oil well on land it controls in Texas.Klein has also criticized The Nature Conservancy and other large environmental NGOs in an article by The Nation for their continued engagement with fossil fuel companies.
There have been allegations of The Nature Conservancy obtaining land and reselling it at a profit, sometimes to supporters,who have then made use of it in ways which many perceived as being insufficiently environmentally friendly. The Nature Conservancy argues that the profit from such sales allows The Nature Conservancy to increase its preservation of what the Nature Conservancy claims are more important locations. The Conservancy has established a no-net-profit policy that has been in effect for years for all transactions of this type, and a policy of ensuring that its disbursements offset any illicitly-generated revenues.
Like many large environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund, the Conservancy has also been criticized[ by whom? ] for including allowances for hunting within its management policies. The organization does not totally ban hunting by their staff nor do they ban it on properties they own. Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, the Commander of coalition forces during the First Gulf War, and a member of the Nature Conservancy's President Conservation Counsel, was also a member of the trophy hunting organization the Safari Club International.
In mid-2019, The Nature Conservancy was enveloped by controversies over issues of gender inequities and sexual harassment. Five senior executives left their positions within two weeks.
On June 7, 2019, Mark Tercek, CEO since 2008, announced his resignation following public disclosure of an internal investigation on sexual harassment and the subsequent resignation of President Brian McPeek.The Nature Conservancy's President for one year, McPeek had resigned on May 31, 2019 after a report on the internal investigation was revealed by POLITICO and after two other senior executives were dismissed based on its findings. And on June 10, 2019, Luis Solorzano, executive director of The Nature Conservancy’s Florida-based Caribbean chapter, became the fifth senior official to depart the organization. On June 11, 2019, The Nature Conservancy’s board chairman Thomas J. Tierney announced that board member and former Secretary of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will serve as interim CEO effective in September 2019. On July 7, 2019, POLITICO reported that the Conservancy’s internal investigation “offered just a glimpse at the problem(s)” within the group.
The organization publishes The Nature Conservancy magazine ( ISSN 1540-2428; six issues per year).
Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands (forestation) that have been depleted, usually through deforestation. Reforestation can be used to rectify the effects of deforestation or improve the quality of human life by soaking up pollution and dust from the air, rebuilding natural habitats and ecosystems, mitigating global warming since forests facilitate biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and harvesting for resources, particularly timber, but also non-timber forest products. In the beginning of the 21st century more attention is given to the ability of reforestation to mitigate climate change as one of the best methods to do it.
A nature reserve, is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna, or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for purposes of conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. They may be designated by government institutions in some countries, or by private landowners, such as charities and research institutions. Nature reserves fall into different IUCN categories depending on the level of protection afforded by local laws. Normally it is more strictly protected than a nature park. Various jurisdictions may use other terminology, such as ecological protection area or private protected area in legislation and in official titles of the reserves.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is an American national park that conserves an area of large sand dunes up to 750 feet (229 m) tall on the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley, and an adjacent national preserve located in the Sangre de Cristo Range, in south-central Colorado, United States. The park was originally designated Great Sand Dunes National Monument on March 17, 1932 by President Herbert Hoover. The original boundaries protected an area of 35,528 acres. A boundary change and redesignation as a national park and preserve was authorized on November 22, 2000 and then established by an act of Congress on September 24, 2004. The park encompasses 107,342 acres while the preserve protects an additional 41,686 acres for a total of 149,028 acres. The recreational visitor total was 527,546 in 2019.
In the United Kingdom, an ancient woodland is a woodland that has existed continuously since 1600 or before in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Planting of woodland was uncommon before those dates, so a wood present in 1600 is likely to have developed naturally.
The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (MNTP) is a tallgrass prairie reserve and United States National Grassland operated by the United States Forest Service. The first national tallgrass prairie ever designated in the U.S. and the largest conservation site in the Chicago Wilderness region, it is located on the site of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant between the towns of Elwood, Manhattan and Wilmington in northeastern Illinois. Since 2015, it has hosted a conservation herd of American bison to study their interaction with prairie restoration and conservation.
Rome Sand Plains is a 15,000-acre (61 km2) pine barrens about five miles (8.0 km) west of the city center of Rome in Oneida County in central New York. It consists of a mosaic of sand dunes rising about 50 feet (15 m) above low peat bogs that lie between the dunes. The barrens are covered with mixed northern hardwood forests, meadows, and wetlands. About 4,000 acres (16 km2) are protected in conservation preserves. Pine barrens are typical of seacoasts; the Rome Sand Plains is one of only a handful of inland pine barrens remaining in the United States. A second inland pine barrens, the Albany Pine Bush, is also found in New York, located north and west of state's capital Albany.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) is a private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932 and headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. WPC has contributed land to 12 state parks and conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands. The Conservancy plants and maintains more than 132 gardens in 20 Western Pennsylvania counties, as well as planting thousands of trees through its community forestry program. WPC has protected or restored more than 3,000 miles (4,800 km) of rivers and streams. In 1963, Edgar Kaufmann Jr. entrusted Frank Lloyd Wright's masterwork Fallingwater to the Conservancy. The house was called the most important building of the 20th century by the American Institute of Architects.
The Trillion Tree Campaign is a project of Plant-for-the-Planet to plant a trillion trees, a development and continuation of the activities of the earlier Billion Tree Campaign, instigated by Wangari Maathai, who founded the Green Belt Movement in Africa in 1977.
According to the California Protected Areas Database (CPAD), in the state of California, United States, there are over 14,000 inventoried protected areas administered by public agencies and non-profits. In addition, there are private conservation areas and other easements. They include almost one-third of California's scenic coastline, including coastal wetlands, estuaries, beaches, and dune systems. The California State Parks system alone has 270 units and covers 1.3 million acres (5,300 km2), with over 280 miles (450 km) of coastline, 625 miles (1,006 km) of lake and river frontage, nearly 18,000 campsites, and 3,000 miles (5,000 km) of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.
Happy Valley Forest is a 6.48 square kilometre provincially significant ecological area, classified as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. It consists of an upland forest on steeply rolling topography, various wooded swamps, and minor wetland areas. A few small kettle ponds are also present.
Hansjörg Wyss is a Swiss entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist. He is the founder and was president, then chairman, of Synthes USA, until its sale in 2012. Wyss lives in Wyoming and has supported philanthropic causes relating to environmental protection, social justice, and science. His contributions led to the establishment of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University in 2009 and he created the Wyss Foundation, which aims to conserve natural environments, including public lands in the Western United States, Africa, South America, and South Australia. As of 2017, Wyss has a net worth of US$5.6 billion, according to Forbes.
Conserving Carolina is a non-profit conservation organization working to preserve water and land resources in Western North Carolina. Conserving Carolina was created in July 2017, from a merger of two previously-separate organizations, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and Pacolet Area Conservancy. The combined organization maintains a primary office in Hendersonville, NC and a regional office in Columbus, NC.
Deer Lick Nature Sanctuary is a protected forest and gorge in Cattaraugus County, New York. The preserve is within Zoar Valley near Gowanda, and is managed by The Nature Conservancy.
The Mianus River Gorge is a 935-acre (3.78 km2) nature preserve jointly owned by The Nature Conservancy and Mianus River Gorge, Inc. It is located in Bedford, New York. The first 60 acres (0.24 km2) were purchased by the Preserve, with help from the Conservancy, their first land preservation deal. It has grown over the years and is still managed by Mianus River Gorge, Inc. In March 1964, it was designated a National Natural Landmark for its old growth climax hemlock forest and the gorge of the Mianus River.
Forterra, based in Seattle, Washington, US, is the state of Washington’s largest land conservation, stewardship and community building organization dedicated solely to the region.
The Douglas-Hart Nature Center, located in Mattoon, Illinois, is a nature reserve that offers visitors different Illinois habitats, field programs, environmental educational classes, and volunteer opportunities for all ages.
Ecosia is a search engine based in Berlin, Germany, that donates 80% or more of its profits to nonprofit organizations that focus on reforestation. It considers itself a social business, is CO2-negative and claims to support full financial transparency and protect the privacy of its users. Ecosia is also B Lab-certified.
Mary Ivy Burks was an environmental activist who helped create and served as the first president of the Alabama Conservancy, an organization aimed at preserving Alabama's environment.
The Wyss Foundation is a charitable organization founded by Hansjörg Wyss, based in Washington, D.C. Established in 1998, the foundation focuses on protecting natural areas in the public trust, but has also supported environmental journalism, social justice, and education initiatives, among others. The organization has more than $2 billion in assets, and an additional office in Durango, Colorado. Molly McUsic serves as the foundation's president.
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