Climate-Smart Forestry: From Niche to Mainstream

Mar 25, 2024 10:00 AM ET

By Bettina von Hagen, CEO and co-founder, EFM

EFM, the forestland investment company I co-founded, is celebrating its 20-year anniversary next year. And yet, the premise upon which we started EFM – that commercial forests could and should be valued and managed for the full range of goods and services they produce – timber, carbon, biodiversity, water provision, recreation, scenic values, tribal and indigenous values and rural livelihoods – is as enduring and critical today as it was twenty years ago. In many ways, it is more so, because the world has caught up with the critical truth that healthy, intact and functioning ecosystems – particularly forests – are fundamental to the earth’s life support system at the very moment that these ecosystems are unraveling due to climate change and human pressure.

Moreover, there is broad recognition that any hope we have on limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees celsius is predicated on protecting and expanding the capacity of forests (and other natural systems) to store carbon and enhance resilience in the face of climatic change, such as increased fire incidence. As the world decarbonizes, expanding the capacity of forests, grasslands and oceans to sequester and store carbon is estimated to provide 37% of needed emission reductions in the next decade.

Today EFM has over $250M of assets and 150,000 acres of forestland under management and advises clients globally on investments in natural climate solutions. We have established three co-mingled forest investment funds and are launching our fourth fund, along with expanding our advisory work on natural climate solutions. Our approach is to purchase forests in ecologically significant landscapes, restore them to greater productivity and health, and lock in the improvements through conservation easements, carbon contracts, habitat banks, and selective sales to tribal and community entities. These strategies provide cash flow while the forest continues to grow.

Read Bettina's insightful article here -