Conservation Collaboratives has been working with the Northern Forest Center to bring together the Northern Forest Carbon & Ecosystem Services Network (CESN), a diverse group of professionals from government, non-profits, and academia working to understand and enhance forest-based ecosystem services.

CESN is a regional (four state) forum to with the following goals.

  • Exchange Information
  • Influence Policy
  • Develop Joint Projects (e.g. – marketing of high quality, regional projects; regional Revolving Loan Fund)

Why it Matters

Private forest owners who actively manage their forests are an essential underpinning of the economy in the Northern Forest region of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. Private owners are responsible for managing over 38 million forest acres in the four states- nearly 90% of the region’s total forest acreage.

Nationally and in the Northern Forest, however, the financial viability of practicing forest management that creates economic returns is under threat. As traditional uses for local wood—e.g. sawlogs, papermaking—have left the region, the financial returns on growing trees for harvest in the Northern Forest have stagnated or declined. Instead the value of forest lands for their development has increased significantly.

Landowners are therefore subdividing their holdings into smaller and smaller pieces, each one to be developed by a different owner.  This trend, which leaves to a fragmented landscape, is considered one of the greatest threats to forests across the United States.  As trees are removed and soil is paved over, ecosystems lose their integrity and ability to provide the critical services on which people and wildlife depend.  Fragmented and diminished forests cannot adequately control floods and fires, sequester carbon dioxide, provide vital wildlife habitat, and purify water.

Now markets for forest ecosystem services- notably carbon sequestration and watershed services- are emerging as new opportunities to help rebuild the economic foundation for sustainable forestry and the economic impacts it provides in the Northern Forest.  If you are interested in participating, please contact us at