The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is an environmental organization, founded in 1951 in the United States. The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) takes a scientific approach to conservation, selecting the areas it seeks to preserve based on analysis of what is needed to ensure the preservation of the local plants, animals, and ecosystems. TNC is the world's largest environmental organization as measured by number of members. It is a nonprofit organization supported almost entirely by private donations. TNC works with businesses, individuals, communities, partner organizations, and government agencies to achieve its goals. TNC is known for working effectively with traditional land owners such as farmers and ranchers, with whom it partners when such a partnership provides an opportunity to advance mutual goals. TNC is in the forefront of private conservation groups in implementing prescribed fire to restore and maintain healthy ecosystems. TNC's expanding international conservation efforts include work in North America, Central America, and South America, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, and Asia.

TNC has pioneered new land preservation techniques such as the conservation easement and debt for nature swaps. A conservation easement is a way for landowners to ensure that their land remains in its natural state while capitalizing on some of the land's potential development value. Debt for nature swaps are tools used to encourage natural area preservation in third world countries while assisting the country economically as well: in exchange for setting aside land, some of the country's foriegn debt is forgiven.

TNC owns many nature preserves including lakes such as the Fourth Connecticut Lake in New Hampshire as well as Sam's Point Preserve in the state of New York and Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. It was instrumental in the creation of the newest US National Park in 2004 at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

TNC has a system for ranking the conservation status of species, and this system is one of two such systems that are in widespread use.

Their worldwide office is located in Arlington, Virginia.

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