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Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project

Ecosystem Services and Financing Community Forests: An Application to Wallowa County, Oregon

green pine forest with a river running in between the trees

Group Members: Andrea Cornelius, Cristina Mancilla, Hollie Pennington, Sachi Shiroma, Anusha Sridhara

Faculty Advisors: Andrew Plantinga

Client: Wallowa Resources



Final Report

Executive Summary

Final Presentation


Community forest management is the use, ownership, and management of local forests by communities rather than for the benefit of private corporations or investors. This management practice has been gaining traction in the United States for the last thirty years. Community forest ownership provides increased recreational access to community members and allows for enhanced ecosystem services compared to ownership under Timberland Investment Management Organizations (TIMOs). Our project serves as a framework for understanding the feasibility of financing forestland acquisition and management in Wallowa County, Oregon by leveraging ecosystem service provision under local ownership. Our client, Wallowa Resources, is a non-profit in Wallowa County whose mission is to “empower rural communities to create strong economies and healthy landscapes through land stewardship, education, and job creation.” Ecosystem services evaluated in this project include carbon storage and timber, first foods, and recreation, and their potential under community forest management was measured and compared to potential under profit-maximizing management by TIMOs. The enhanced ecosystem services possible under community forest management could attract a diverse array of public and private funding to support purchase and management of forestland. Funding mechanisms considered include grants and investments from non-profits, government agencies, carbon markets, and natural capital projects. This project can serve as a foundation for other western, rural, resource-based communities interested in planning and financing for community forest management. 


UC Santa Barbara Bren School: Dr. Niklas Griessbaum, Lecturer; Nathaniel Grimes, PhD Student Advisor; Dr. Heather Hodges, Lecturer; Dr. Ashley Larsen, Associate Professor

Dario Trujano-Ochoa, PhD Candidate, UC Santa Barbara Department of Economics

Wallowa Resources: Rick Bombaci, GIS Specialist & Staff Writer; Nils Christoffersen, Executive Director; Larz Stewart, Development Director 

John Hillock, County Commissioner, Wallowa County, Oregon 

Mary Young, Forest Soil Scientist, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, US Forest Service

Ian Wilson, Wallowa County Project Coordinator, Grande Ronde Watershed Model

Dr. Ryan Haugo, Director of Conservation & Science, Oregon, The Nature Conservancy

Dr. David Mildrexler, Systems Ecologist, Eastern Oregon Legacy Lands

Spenser Shadle, Managing Director, Alder Point Capital Management

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