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Incorporating social equity in conservation programmes in the northeastern US

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Vermont's programmes for conservation of forest land do not generally address the increasing disparity between the wealth of those who own land and those who do not. A pilot project was conducted under the Ford Foundation's Community-Based Forestry Demonstration Program to see if a typical conservation project could be modified to allow people to own land who could not otherwise afford to do so. Forest land was acquired by a conservation organization. Some of the rights - the rights to manage and profit from the forest - were sold to a group of community members who own those rights in common. A covenant restricts the sales price so present and future members can expect their stewardship to yield a modest return on their investment. The project's experience suggests ways in which existing conservation programme can be revamped to incorporate opportunities for people of lower incomes and build community around the forest.
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Keywords: community forests; conservation easements; equity; forests; land trusts

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Vermont Family Forests, P.O Box 254, Bristol, VT 05443, USA.

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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