The RFFI model leverages private equity, “tapping the power of Wall Street,” to invest in conservation transactions. In this way, the RFFI model uses free market strategies to focus private capital towards investments that benefit the common good.
Leverages conservation dollars over large tracks of land
Conservation purchases do not provide enough capital to acquire areas of land large enough to keep entire ecosystems intact. High land values for development in the Redwood region threaten to fractionalize forest land making the purchase of large tracts of land urgent and invaluable. By combining conservation funding with private equity, RFFI is able to purchase and conserve forest land on a scale that is unattainable through conservation funding alone.
There is a sense of helplessness when absentee landowners make decisions that have negative environmental, economic and social impacts on local communities. The RFFI model provides an opportunity for community groups, individuals and other stakeholders to be involved in decisions about how the forest should be managed. This “sense of ownership” empowers local citizens to be part of shaping a future that will result in a healthier community for them to live and raise their families.
Once RFFI’s enterprises generate a net profit, the excess revenue will go back into the community. This will create a social infrastructure and economic independence that has never existed in these rural communities before. Even now, RFFI is sustaining the community by providing employment and purchasing goods and services for use both in the forest and for the management of other related resources. Finally, RFFI is sustaining the community through educational, recreational and cultural activities.
Vasquez Reforestation crews planting redwoods as part of an extensive watershed restoration project that removed roads to reduce siltation and improve conditions for an important Coho Salmon spawning stream.
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