OSI Southeast Resilient Landscapes Initiative

Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Southeast Resilient Landscapes Fund

Map SE RLI, Southeast Resilience Focus Areas

Download a larger PDF version of the map         

Fund Overview

Capitalized with a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Southeast Resilient Landscapes Fund (Fund) provides capital grants and loans to land protection projects within three selected regions of the southeast.

Projects must lie in one of OSI’s resilience focus areas, demonstrate the use of Resilient Landscape concepts and meet the other grant criteria detailed below. OSI awards grants to qualified non-profit organizations through a competitive process with the assistance of an advisory board comprised of experts with knowledge of natural resources, conservation policy and land conservation funding.

Geographic Focus Areas

Through an in-depth review process, OSI has selected three focus areas: the Southern Cumberlands in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee; the Southern Blue Ridge in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee; and the Greater Pee Dee River in South Carolina and North Carolina. OSI awarded an initial round of grants in the Southern Cumberlands focus area in Fall 2014.

Information about OSI’s focus area selection process is available here

Application Process and Deadlines

All applications must be submitted through our online service here.

For your information, you may download a PDF copy of the Capital Grants online application here.

Prior to submitting an application please review the Definitions and Map Guide (updated 12/14/16)Frequently Asked Questions, and Grant Criteria below. 

Applications are now being accepted through January 25, 2017 at 
5 pm. To be notified about future grant rounds please sign up here.

We encourage applicants to contact OSI staff to discuss your project before preparing a proposal:

Joel Houser
Southeast Field Coordinator

Data Analysis and Maps - Note New Data and Process

To determine eligibility and to assess your project’s resiliency attributes applicants will use the newest data and will produce maps directly through a new TNC Mapping Tool. OSI’s Definitions and Map Guide defines and explains resiliency concepts, details map requirements for capital grant applicants, and provides examples of the required maps.

For data questions and assistance, contact:
Neil Jordan 

Grant Fund Webinar

Listen to the Southeast Resilient Landscapes Fund Applicant Webinar recorded on Jun 3, 2015.

In this session, OSI staff reviewed the underlying science and the grant fund process and criteria.

Grant Criteria

To be eligible for funding, projects must meet all of the following Threshold Criteria (asterisks denote terms that are defined in OSI’s Definitions and Map Guide).

  • Located within an OSI Resilient Focus Area*
  • Rank above average for Resilience*
  • Achieve permanent protection of high resilience habitat through fee purchase of land or a conservation easement
  • Meet or exceed OSI conservation easements standards (see standards below for conservation easement projects)
  • Be spearheaded by an organization with the capacity and financial ability to execute the transaction and ensure long term stewardship and management of the property consistent with the Fund’s objectives
  • Be completed within 18 months of receiving notification of OSI’s grant award.

OSI will evaluate projects that meet the Threshold Criteria against the following:

  • Extent of the property that ranks above-average for Resilience*
  • Extent of the property that ranks above-average for Landscape Complexity*
  • Extent and type of Underrepresented Geophysical Settings* found on the property
  • Extent, status and condition of plant and animal species and natural communities found on the property
  • Role of the project, either alone or in conjunction with existing protected areas, to help ensure the long term viability of plant and animal species
  • Threat to the property and/or particular conservation opportunity presented by the project
  • Evidence of a stewardship plan for the long term conservation of the property that is consistent with the Fund’s objectives.
  • Prospects for 5:1 or greater financial leverage. OSI will only approve projects with less than 5:1 match in exceptional circumstances (see match requirements below)
  • Evidence of the applicant’s interest in and ability to advance the use of resiliency science to ensure climate adaptation for species
  • Ability of the project to illustrate the importance of resilient landscape conservation and/or to catalyze other projects that will protect resilient habitat
  • Evidence that the land trust receiving funding from and/or holding property funded through an OSI Resilient Landscapes Fund grant is accredited by the Land Trust Commission or has a reasonable plan and timeframe for attaining accreditation that has been adopted by the land trust’s board.

Eligible Uses of Funds

Grants may be used to acquire permanent conservation easements and fee interest in land. In exceptional cases, grants may be applied to cover transactional costs, including cost of appraisals, surveys, title, and environmental assessments. The Fund may also provide short-term low-interest loans for projects that require bridge financing and that meet the grant criteria. Grant funds cannot be used for endowments, stewardship costs, baseline documentation reports, staff time, buildings or other non-capital project expenses.

Grant Awards

OSI staff and the Fund’s Advisory Committee review applications against the Fund’s criteria and goals. Once OSI has approved a grant, we will provide the grantee with a checklist of items required for OSI to prepare a grant agreement. When all required information and documents are received, OSI will forward a grant agreement to the grantee. If applicable, the grantee must provide documents pertaining to each project phase and match parcel. OSI will release funds at the time the transaction closes. Projects must close within 18 months of OSI’s grant approval.

Conservation Easement Standards

Stewardship of Resilient Landscape Fund grant projects must be consistent with the goals of the Fund: maintaining the land’s resilience to climate change and conserving native biodiversity and ecosystem processes. Prior to submitting a grant proposal, applicants should review OSI’s standards for fee land stewardship and for conservation easement (CE) terms (download here).

Grant Amount and Matching Requirement

Although there is no minimum or maximum grant size, awards are typically between $100,000 and $400,000. 

OSI will give strong preference to projects with a 5:1 or greater financial match. OSI will fund projects with less than 5:1 match only in exceptional circumstances. Prior to grant distribution grantees must provide a detailed accounting of all matching sources.

The following qualify as matching funds:

  • Public funds (federal, state and local) and private funds from individuals and foundations used for the acquisition of fee interest or a conservation easement on the subject property or on eligible match properties.
  • The value of a donated conservation easement or bargain sale on the subject property.
  • The value of eligible match properties (see below).
  • Transaction and other acquisition costs, including appraisals, surveys, environmental assessments, title exams and insurance, recording fees, transfer and real estate taxes, property carrying costs and fees for outside counsel.

Match Property Eligibility

To be eligible as match, property must 1) be adjacent or proximate to the subject property, 2) meet the Fund’s criteria, 3) be part of a larger plan that includes conservation of the match and subject properties, and 4) close prior to the closing of the subject property but not more than one year before date of application. In addition, to determine eligibility of match parcels OSI will consider whether the match and the subject properties lie in the same watershed, geophysical setting, matrix forest block, natural community and/or State Wildlife Action Plan priority area. 

The following do not qualify as matching funds:

  • Ecological or land restoration dollars
  • Stewardship endowments and land management expenses
  • Staff time, travel or expenses



Southeast Resilient Landscapes Fund and Project Inquiries

Joel Houser

General Information & Application
Yasemin Unal-Rodriguez 
212-290-8200 x 311

Catalyst Program
Abigail Weinberg 

GIS assistance
Neil Jordan 











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