Across the U.S. and Canada, and around the world, there is growing pressure and conflict over natural resources used for farming, forests and grasslands. Now, more than ever, land management must do more with less: sustainable and profitable production, prosperous rural economies and livelihoods, healthy ecosystems and biodiversity, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Meanwhile–in the face of low commodity prices, high input costs, tariffs, powerful buyers and regulation–farmers and foresters are struggling to survive.These pressures make it difficult to achieve thriving rural economies or secure critically important environmental goals.
Fortunately a movement is growing of locally-led partnerships that empower land managers and other members of local communities and municipalities to plan their own futures. By working collaboratively at the landscape scale they are finding creative ways to overcome barriers and manage their shared spaces to regenerate their resources, economies, and communities.
But these new partnerships face daunting challenges to finance their integrated investment strategies.
These new strategies require new kinds of landscape investment models that link multiple landscape objectives with an array of public, private and civic investments to achieve synergies and impacts at scale. EcoAgriculture Partners, with collaborators in the Landscape and Seascape Working Group of the Coalition on Private Investment in Conservation (CPIC), have identified and described numerous such models. These take different forms, such as landscape-based community development funds, landscape development companies, landscape banks, or regional business accelerator platforms.
Many of the most innovative models are in North America. Most focus on agriculture and natural resources, but some are adapted from other sector, such as urban development. To deepen understanding of how these work in practice, we are organizing a one-day Forum to bring together the innovators who are pioneering these models with other leaders in the finance and land management communities. The forum will assess learnings, initiate a community of practice on this topic, and generate an action agenda to scale up integrated landscape investment in the U.S. and Canada.