Save Wildlife Habitat - Pacific Forest Trust

What We Do:

Save Wildlife Habitat

For every nook and cranny in a forest, there are animals and plants that call it home. Just as we do, animals need food, fresh water, room to roam, and places of refuge. Conserving and revitalizing wildlife habitat ensures both animals and humans have a healthier future ahead.

Forests can mean big business for developers and wood product manufacturers, but for thousands of plant and animal species forests are the ultimate “mixed-use community.” Forests provide fresh water, food, and shelter in the form of specialized homes or “habitats” from the forest floor to the highest treetop, and everywhere in-between.

Animals are particular about their habitats; it’s not one-size-fits-all. They need all of the variety that a healthy forest provides in order to thrive. As the Earth’s climate changes, many species are migrating in search of new homes. These animals, if they’re able to relocate, rely on connected forest landscapes in order to move from place to place.

As human populations and demands for resources increase, our forested habitats are suffering. With every acre of forest lost to development or sweeping industrial timber harvests, wildlife habitats are shrinking and breaking apart. The United States’ private forests especially—60% of all forests in the country—are losing the natural richness that keeps thousands of plants and animals alive. That’s why we are working with private landowners to manage their forests sustainably, across ownership boundaries, to benefit the wildlife and plants that live within them.

Habitats Support Life

Wildlife and humans alike depend on natural, healthy habitats in order to live. Breathe deep and take a moment to consider the air filling your lungs. Even if you live in a city, you’re closer to nature than you think. Both the air we breathe and the water we drink originate in and flow through nature. Whether you (or wildlife) live in urban or remote areas, rivers or streams, or literally under a rock, life depends on habitats and the resources they provide.

Habitats Inspire

From bedtime stories to wildlife photography, habitats and the animals and plants found within capture our hearts and inspire joy in our daily lives. According to a national survey, American’s spent over $140 billion on wildlife-related recreation in 2011, approximately 1% of our total Gross Domestic Product.

We conserve wildlife habitats that support hundreds of species, like those highlighted here.

How We Save Wildlife Habitats

We are dedicated to connecting critical wildlife habitat, balancing ecological, economic, and social needs.

We Create a Different Kind of Forest Economy

For most landowners, their forests are a source of wood products and revenue, and their decisions about how to manage their lands are driven by market forces. Our work creates a market pull for conservation.

We developed the Working Forest Conservation Easement, a legal designation that protects land from subdivision and development forever while guiding forest management to achieve habitat protection and restoration. This gives landowners the financial resources and flexibility they need to steward complex forest habitats and sustainably harvest timber resources at the same time.


Working Forest Conservation Easements permanently protect the special habitats and species of concern for each landscape. As we work with landowners to set up new conservation easements, we develop plans to provide permanent protections and pathways to restore habitats for wildlife. Working Forest Conservation Easements allow landowners to cultivate healthy and diverse habitats for all walks, crawls, and slithers of life to survive.


By developing policies and best practices, we make it easier for landowners to manage their forests and protect wildlife at the same time. Many times, managing for more natural forest conditions creates exactly the kind of homes that vulnerable species need, especially those animals protected by state and federal Endangered Species Acts.

We worked with state and federal wildlife agencies to develop a streamlined, two-step approach for obtaining Safe Harbor Agreements, a voluntary deal that provides assurances for landowners who contribute to the recovery of listed species. With a working forest conservation easement, landowners can “pre-qualify” for a Safe Harbor Agreement. This way threatened species get the habitat they need, and landowners avoid costly fines or delays when they work their land.

We Enhance Wildlife Habitats

We provide financial and technical support to help our landowners and agency partners kick-start hundreds of acres of habitat enhancement projects, which improve rare habitat on privately owned, managed forestland. We are currently focusing on restoring wet meadow and aspen habitats as well as managed conifer forests with old-growth qualities.

Explore Habitats We Conserve

Learn more about some of the habitats we protect and enhance, working with agencies and landowners.


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Safeguarding California Comments

Pacific Forest Trust Comments on Safeguarding CA: Nature is essential for climate change adaptation. Biodiversity goals depend on forests.

Photography: Title image by Kameron Perensovich. Image of western pond turtles by Jerry Kirkhart.