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Conservation Based Estate Planning for Pennsylvania Forest Landowners

2021
In Pennsylvania, almost 10 million acres are owned by individuals, families, partnerships, hunt clubs and other non-corporate ownerships. These private forest landowners own their land for myriad values, yet the majority, 57%, wish their land to stay in their families, and hope their beneficiaries will be able to care well for the woods. Few currently take advantage of or intend to use tools that consider land conservation beyond the current tenure. Significant proportions of these acreages are projected to change ownership over the next 10 years as the baby boomers divest or pass the asset onto their heirs or beneficiaries. The Conservation Based Estate Planning (CBEP) model aims to help interested landowners honor their love for their land and desire for its long-term stewardship. It strives to achieve this by providing the next owner, whether known or not, the largest, intact block of functioning forest as possible. This workshop provides a “look under the hood” at the stages within the CBEP process, illustrated in a model developed from research supported by the Center for Private Forests at Penn State and derived from data collected through interviews with over two dozen estate attorneys and financial planning professionals on forest legacy planning with their clients. The goal of the project was to provide forest landowners with a “crib sheet” or “guide” to the planning professionals’ perceptions of the stages within the process, framing the options, opportunities, and challenges they may encounter. Recognizing that the time at which land changes hands represents a critical juncture in the continuity of land use, achieving a greater level of CBEP through empowering landowners to identify, prioritize, and achieve their long-term stewardship and legacy objectives will advance opportunities to maintain contiguous core forest blocks across the landscape. Conservation organizations engage landowners through a wide array of messaging, but with ultimate goals of land conservation. This workshop will give an overview of forest landowners’ future plans and needs, present the new model and tools for supporting landowners interested in legacy planning, and conclude with a facilitated discussion focused on identifying opportunities for introducing CBEP into conservation organization work.
Last Modified
May 07, 2024
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Creating Landscape Connectivity in the Eastern Wildway

2022
Wildlands Network recognizes Pennsylvania’s strategic importance to the Eastern Wildway, hosting numerous core habitats and key linkages between the southern Appalachians and the northern forests of the Adirondacks, New England, and southeast Canada. This session will explain Wildlands Network’s work throughout the Eastern Wildway, and explore opportunities for collaboration with Pennsylvania conservation organizations, especially land trusts. Pennsylvania’s role in continental-scale conservation will be discussed including the particular significance of the Pennsylvania Wilds and key linkages between several Pennsylvania conservation landscapes and adjacent states. We will also explore the critical importance of land trusts in protecting core habitat and maintaining or restoring landscape connectivity in face of the twin crises of a biodiversity loss and climate change. Participants will gain an enhanced understanding of the critical issue of landscape connectivity, as well as efforts underway at various geographic scales and levels of government to protect a connected landscape in eastern North America.
Last Modified
May 07, 2024
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38 times

Economic Impacts of Outdoor Recreation

2022
Pennsylvanians appreciate outdoor recreation like never before for the health, wellbeing, environmental, and economic benefits it delivers. The appreciation of these benefits is matched by a growing need for outdoor recreation as a sector (and the industry that underlies it) to be represented within government to grow and fully prosper. Please join Nathan Reigner, Pennsylvania’s first Director of Outdoor Recreation, for a discussion of the significance of outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania and share your thoughts and questions about how we can put outdoor recreation to work for the sustainable development of our commonwealth’s economy and communities.
Last Modified
May 07, 2024
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Economic Value of Forests for Water Resource Protection: A Training Program in Benefit Transfer Methods

2021
Forests play a vital role in protecting water quality by reducing soil erosion, sedimentation and filtering excess nutrients. This session will introduce valuation concepts from natural resource economics, including net present value and benefit transfer, and provide training on how to use a new calculator, produced by Penn State Extension, to estimate the economic benefits of conserving forest land to protect water resources. The calculator is based on an econometric model built using 40 observations of value from 18 studies measuring public willingness-to-pay (WTP) for forest-water protection throughout the US. Outputs represent the estimated value of maintaining forests (i.e., green infrastructure) for water protection services at the county level and per acre using different forest conservation strategies. Total values can be used to help inform planning and zoning decisions or demonstrate the value of local forest conservation. In this session, participants will learn how to use the calculator and integrate estimated values into planning decisions, such as a cost-benefit analysis. Presenter Melissa Kreye | Assistant Professor, Forest Resources Management, Penn State University Melissa M. Kreye is an Assistant Professor of Forest Resources Management at Pennsylvania State University. She uses her expertise in non-market valuation and behavioral economics to address place-based problems in socio-ecological forest systems. Her Forest Benefits and Values program seeks to improve understanding of how people value forests and decision-making on private forest lands. Her goal as a scientist and a leader is to advance initiatives that promote robust science, collaboration, environmental sustainability, and social equity.
Last Modified
May 07, 2024
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Farmland Preservation for a New Generation

2020
As the average age of farmers in Pennsylvania rises, farmland is being developed at a breakneck pace. According to the United States Agriculture Census, between 2012 and 2017, the commonwealth lost more than 6,000 farms, with 400,000 acres transitioning out of farmland. We know for national and state data that farmers entering agriculture today are different in several key ways than their predecessors, and that young farmers are facing enormous barriers to accessing affordable, secure farmland. In this session, Karen Gardner, Pennsylvania policy associate for the National Young Farmers Coalition, will share the results of the Coalition’s extensive research and conversations with young farmers in Pennsylvania, highlighting the challenges young farmers face when accessing land and detailing strategies to keep farmland in agriculture and affordable to farmers. She will be joined by a farmer from the Coalition’s network in Pennsylvania, and a participatory discussion will follow the presentation.
Last Modified
May 07, 2024
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Indigenous Peoples in Pennsylvania History Research Guide

2023
WeConservePA and the Pennsylvania DEIJ Community of Land Trust Professionals will host an information and learning session on the Penn State University Library’s Indigenous Peoples in Pennsylvania History research guide. Guest speakers Jane Ingold, Heidi Abbey Moyer, and Eric Novotny (members of the Penn State Libraries’ Native American Learning Group) will give a short overview of the project followed by a demonstration of its use.
Last Modified
May 07, 2024
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Keeping Pennsylvania's Privately-Owned Forests Intact and Working

2023
Since its inception in 2011, the James C. Finley Center for Private Forests at Penn State has conducted applied research and education programs to understand privately-owned forests and engage with forest landowners of the state. With the most recent forest landowner survey, we have new insights into landowner values, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as understanding of their plans for the future of their land. This presentation will cover some highlights of the survey along with research on goals for the future and opportunities for the land conservation community to support shared values of protecting forestland for future generations.
Last Modified
May 07, 2024
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PGC Program Update

2023
Join WeConservePA in welcoming Bryan Burhans from the Pennsylvania Game Commission for a brief activity update and opportunity for conversation. Bryan will give participants an overview of the various program areas of the Game Commission, the commission’s work in preserving state game lands, and opportunities for land trusts to engage and partner. A presentation of roughly 30 minutes will be followed by discussion.
Last Modified
May 07, 2024
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Responding to Water Quality Threats in the Poconos

2023
The Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania is at an urgent crossroads. During the last few years, the headwaters located in this region of the Delaware River Basin have seen a surge in industrial and commercial development - including warehouses and distribution centers - that threaten the ecological infrastructure underpinning the region's water quality, recreational economy, and natural beauty. Business interests insist that local communities must choose between economic growth and strong clean streams protections, and local municipalities either support this development or feel that they have no authority to deny it. In response, PennFuture has developed a multifaceted strategy that includes legal, outreach, and communications tools to combat this false narrative, effectively educate community leaders, elected officials, educate and mobilize community members, and, when necessary, engage in regulatory and legal actions to protect our communities and environment. We know that the Poconos is not alone in experiencing these types of threats. Join this conversation to learn more about the threats to some of the cleanest waters in Pennsylvania and how we can work together to protect them.
Last Modified
May 07, 2024
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The Social Value of Bird Conservation

2021
Forest management can enhance ecosystem services and protect species diversity by enhancing habitat for wildlife. The number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29% since 1970 because of growing environmental pressures. Since most (70%) forests in Pennsylvania are privately owned, managing forests requires public and landowner participation and a better understanding of agency leaders. The social value of bird conservation was explored using a statewide web survey that collected panel responses from 690 randomly selected persons in Pennsylvania. The survey contained Likert scales and a choice experiment with 8 programs. Data were analyzed using mixed logistic regression and descriptive statistics. Findings indicate a wide variation in people’s knowledge and positive attitudes towards birds. Early analysis suggests that habitat improvement programs generate a positive WTP indicating that public investment in bird conservation on private lands is a legitimate strategy for enhancing public welfare.
Last Modified
May 07, 2024
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