The purpose of the 2016 Berkley Workshop was to explore some of the ways that land conservation groups might best respond to our changing climate, with particular emphasis on the science and finance guiding and enabling the stewardship of natural areas.
Among the major themes were the following:
- While increasing numbers of land trusts are incorporating the changing climate into their work, important issues arise around how useful traditional tools will be, as well as whether many land trusts have the capacity to engage in the more active management of conserved lands that is likely to be required.
- There are many ways that the stewardship of conserved lands may help address aspects of climate change, from storing carbon to mitigating flooding or heat waves. Capturing those benefits will require more systematic efforts to demonstrate that natural areas can provide those services in ways that fit infrastructure owners’ and investors’ decision-making contexts and criteria.
- Sources of funding for conservation projects with climate benefits continue to expand in number and quantity. However, the site specificity of such projects raises real questions about how the volume of replicable investment opportunities that large investors are seeking can best be generated from such projects.
- In addition to science and finance, the participants felt it was also critically important to engage on the social aspects of these topics–in particular, the need to expand the range of human communities that benefit from the climate and other services provided by conserved lands. Meeting this need will require new collaborations among conservation organizations and others working on topics from renewable energy to climate justice.