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With every passing year, new innovations in conservation finance and the legal defense of conservation easements spring to life. On March 1, 2013, The Land Trust Alliance (LTA) celebrated a historic pivot point marked by the opening of the Terrafirma Risk Retention Group LLC. Terrafirma includes among its insured some 420 land trusts in 46 states and the District of Columbia that are now working together to defend conservation of 20,568 properties covering 6,354,434 acres. As described by the LTA, Terrafirma is a charitable risk pool owned by participating land trusts that insures its members against the legal costs of defending conservation. Leslie Ratley-Beach, who has represented Terrafirma at a number of recent forums, joined us to describe the basic functions and operational strategies of this new and important entity.

Similarly, in June of 2013, we will celebrate the emergence of a new online presence for conservation finance at Leigh Whelpton of Island Press joined us to discuss the relaunch of the Conservation Finance Network website, as well as her role in promoting conservation finance innovation in North America and around the globe.


  • Leigh Whelpton, Program Manager, Conservation Finance Network, Island Press
  • Leslie Ratley-Beach, Vice President of Alliance Risk Management Services LLC; Manager of Terrafirma Risk Retention Group LLC

Moderator: James Levitt, director of the Program on Conservation Innovation at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University; fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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