The Land Trust for Tennessee released a first-of-its kind strategic conservation plan in September 2019 to accelerate and guide our work across the state, and highlight the importance of land conservation in Tennessee.
The plan, titled “Forever Tennessee,” outlines a focused vision for The Land Trust to conserve farms, forests, historic sites, recreation areas, wildlife habitat, and scenic landscapes in 10 Conservation Opportunity Regions throughout the state. The aim is to strategically and proactively conserve land, both public and private, to support local economies, public health, historic preservation, biodiversity, sense of place, and more. Our commitment is to increase the quality, pace, and impact of land conservation across Tennessee.
CHARTING A PATH FORWARD
To complete Forever Tennessee, we compiled over 25 different datasets from a variety of authoritative sources, including state and federal government entities, scientific research organizations, and other conservation groups.
This allowed us to map conservation resources across Tennessee—such as fertile soils for farming, diverse wildlife habitat, and historic landscapes—and identify areas with the highest concentration of these resources. We then analyzed census data and population growth projections to prioritize places in most immediate need of our work.
DEFINING OUR CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITY REGIONS (CORS)
Once the data was gathered and analyzed, we finalized 10 Conservation Opportunity Regions (CORs) across Tennessee where we will focus our proactive work moving forward. These areas represent a range of land resources, are distributed across the state, and are within our capacity to implement conservation programs.
The CORs allow us to focus on the highest conservation-value land while simultaneously increasing our base of support with funders and community members. As a statewide land trust, we will remain responsive to landowners outside of the CORs, but our data model better enables our decision-making on an individual project basis.
Forever Tennessee lays a foundation that will revolutionize the way we work: to direct our entire team on where to spend time and funding, and to help us choose the best possible conservation projects to maximize our mission.