What is Conservation Finance?

One blue and one brown hand supporting a growing seedling with hands stemming from dollar sign.

Conservation Finance is the practice of raising and managing, and deploying capital to support land, water, and resource conservation.

In the case of the Forest Service, it is the practice of developing innovative financing models that leverage Forest Service-appropriated funding by engaging private capital to increase the pace and scale of restoration. Through these models, the Forest Service is able to focus on a return-driven investment approach that aligns with overlapping environmental, social, and financial outcomes.


The 3rd round of the Innovative Finance for National Forests (IFNF) grant program RFP was issued on Nov. 21, 2022 and will distribute around $1.8M.In 2021, 6 of 11 IFNF awards were granted to Region 5, almost $1.5M, to support development of finance models that leverage private sector capital to support resilience of the National Forest System and surrounding lands. The IFNF website has more detailed descriptions of the IFNF program and awarded projects.

Map of Projects


In 2018, the Forest Service signed an agreement with Blue Forest Conservation documenting their shared commitment to landscape-scale restoration, and launched the Yuba I Project in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest. This was the first time a Conservation Finance tool, the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB), was used within the Forest Service. It provided $4 million in private capital from four investors to finance ecological restoration treatments across 15,000 acres of national forest.

Region 5 now has upwards of 20 CF projects at various stages of development integrating these innovative financing models in 15 of their 18 national forests.

We are working with several Conservation Finance Partners:

Blue Forest Conservation (BFC)

Blue Forest Conseervation World Resources Institute

Blue Forest is a non-profit organization creating sustainable financial solutions to meet pressing environmental challenges. Its flagship financial product, the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB), deploys private capital to finance forest restoration projects on private and public lands to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, avoid carbon emissions, and protect communities, water resources, and ecosystems. Blue Forest is now involved in the scoping and implementation of more than 10 projects in R5 and has grown to over 20 personnel, bolstering the incredible support they have and continue to provide to our National Forests. While Blue Forest supports all varieties of restoration projects, they specialize in forest restoration and watershed health.

Quantified Ventures

Quantified Ventures is a certified B-Corp that designs, capitalizes, and scales investible solutions to address pressing challenges facing communities to produce positive environmental and social outcomes. While QV supports a wide variety of conservation projects, they specialize in sustainable recreation.

Qualified Ventures

Conservation Investment Management

Conservation Investment Management

Conservation Investment Management – Conservation Investment Management brings a new approach to nature conservation based on innovation, entrepreneurship, and science, funded by private capital. We partner with public agencies, non-profits, communities, and landowners to develop conservation finance projects that conserve nature, are financially sustainable, and create local economic development. Examples of our work include:


  • R5 RO Conservation Finance Lead & Coordinator: Sherry Reckler & Madison Kirshner 
  • R5 CF Cadre: Jerry Brian, Lara Buluc, Lejon Hamann, Alonzo Henderson, Jeff Heys, Madison Kirshner, Sherry Reckler, Judi Tapia
  • ​R5 CF Cadre meets once monthly to information share and discuss educational opportunities that will enhance greater region-wide understanding of conservation finance tools.