Forest Trends works to conserve forests and other ecosystems through the creation and wide adoption of a range of environmental finance, market, and other payment and incentive mechanisms.

Forest Trends does so by:

  • Providing transparent information on ecosystem values, finance, and markets through knowledge acquisition, analysis, and dissemination;
  • Convening diverse coalitions, partners, and communities of practice, to promote environmental values and advance development of new markets and payment mechanisms;
  • Demonstrating successful tools, standards, and models of innovative finance for conservation.

Read our Strategic Plan to learn more about how Forest Trends applies these approaches in everything we do and how our eight initiatives work together to find innovative conservation solutions.


Beginning in 1996, a small group of leaders from the forest industry, philanthropic community, and environmental groups began to meet to consider the array of challenges facing forest conservation and to identify common ground. Participants in these meetings recognized the respective contributions and limits of their own institutions and decided to create a new organization, Forest Trends, to expand this work of bridging traditional divides and promoting market-based approaches to forest conservation.

In 1998, the group agreed on an organizational model for the new organization. Forest Trends would be a small, nimble, and responsive non-profit organization with three principal roles: convening market players to advance market transformations, generating and disseminating critical information to market players, and facilitating deals between different critical links in the value chains of new forestry.

The original group of participants was expanded to include additional representatives from industry, finance, and conservation. This enlarged group became the original Board of Directors. The Board was expanded in late 1999 to include representatives from other major forested regions besides the United States, including Russia, Brazil, Malaysia, and Canada.

Our history, our Board, and our focus on market approaches are Forest Trends’ unique strengths. The Board is unusual in that it reflects the wide diversity of opinions and interests active in global forest issues, yet is bound by the common desire to increase the contribution of markets to forest conservation and the livelihoods of people. This unique combination of diversity and common ground enables our organization to better understand the issues and trade-offs associated with different perspectives, and to provide leadership for reconciliation. It also establishes a powerful platform from which Forest Trends can survey the horizon for emerging issues and opportunities.