Amazon today announced a $10 million grant to conserve, restore, and support sustainable forestry, wildlife and nature-based solutions across the Appalachian Mountains, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy.
Nature-based solutions refer to the sustainable management and use of nature for tackling challenges such as removing carbon from the atmosphere to slow climate change and helping maintain water and food security, biodiversity protection, human health, and disaster risk management. This funding will initially support projects in Pennsylvania and Vermont that will help family forest owners sequester carbon and support expansion across the Appalachians in a network of climate-resilient forests that scientists at The Nature Conservancy have identified as most able to thrive in the face of climate change.
This is the first project from Amazon’s $100 million Right Now Climate Fund, an initiative to remove carbon from the atmosphere through the restoration and conservation of forests, wetlands, grasslands and peatlands around the world. Last year, Amazon co-founded with Global Optimism and became the first signatory of The Climate Pledge — committing to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early and be net zero carbon by 2040 through decarbonization of its operations and use of nature-based solutions.
Families across the country own 290 million acres of America’s forests, more than the federal government or the forest industry, and have an opportunity to help reduce carbon in the atmosphere and slow climate change through sustainable forest management and restoration that conserves and maintains the ecosystems of forests for the benefit of present and future generations. Families will be provided the tools and resources needed to assess, plan and implement forest management practices that increase the economic and ecological values of their forests.
Amazon, The Nature Conservancy, the American Forest Foundation, and the Vermont Land Trust are partnering on two innovative projects — the Family Forest Carbon Program and Forest Carbon Co-ops. The Family Forest Carbon Program will open up carbon credit markets to small family forest owners. Amazon’s commitment will expand the program in the Appalachians and other US regions, and go towards designing new methods for measuring and verifying reforestation and forest management practices. The Forest Carbon Co-op will help owners of mid-sized forests use sustainable forest management and protection measures to earn income through the carbon credit market. Amazon’s grant will support efforts to expand the program in climate resilient forests across the Appalachians, develop a scientific approach to regional carbon impact measurement, and enhance the project verification methodology.
Amazon is the largest funder of these programs and will help:
- Conserve and sustainably manage forest land and wildlife in Pennsylvania and Vermont, with plans to expand the projects across 4 million acres of the 2,000-mile span of the Appalachians, and beyond.
- Generate economic opportunities by creating a new source of income for family forest owners and rural communities that taps into the carbon storage potential of forests — in the US, families and individuals own the largest portion of forests (38%), more than the federal government or corporations.
- Achieve a net reduction of up to 18.5 million metric tons of CO2 in the atmosphere by 2031.