The Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET), one of the largest funding sources in Massachusetts for water quality projects, recently conferred a $25,000 grant to Harvard’s center for research and education in forestry and ecology, the Harvard Forest.

The grant signals a new understanding of the links between preserving forest landscapes and strengthening freshwater resources in the Commonwealth, and will help Harvard Forest researchers develop new, more effective methods to finance forest conservation. Two major conservation finance prospects have already been identified: the aggregation and protection of adjacent conservation areas as large, intact watersheds, and the use of mitigation (or offset) mechanisms to fund new protection for public and privately owned land in the state.
Funding Harvard Forest’s initiative is only one step in the MET’s acknowledgement of the critical linkage between land protection and water resource security.

The Harvard Forest’s finance study for forest conservation is led by James Levitt, director of the Program on Conservation Innovation at the Harvard Forest and research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation. Levitt is working on this project in conjunction with David Foster, director of the Harvard Forest and faculty member in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.