Measuring an old-growth fir in northern New Hampshire.
CARBON WAREHOUSE Forests are a natural climate solution. © Eric Aldrich/TNC

Climate Change Stories

Natural Climate Solutions Accelerator Grant

Through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Nature Conservancy launched the U.S. Natural Climate Solutions Accelerator program in 2018 to support projects with potential to substantially increase the use of natural climate solutions.  This grant-funding program is focused on helping kick-start innovative and scalable approaches to capturing greenhouse gas emissions by using natural and working lands in the United States.  The program’s Steering Committee approved the first five grants in the fall of 2018, is currently reviewing the second round of applications and plans to complete a third round of grantmaking in early 2020.

When the third round of grant making is launched in early 2020, applicants will be able to request up to $250,000 per project. All told, up to $2.5M will be awarded across the three rounds of grant making. In addition to financial support, recipients will be offered mentorship, and connection to networks and new partnerships.

In 2018 a new TNC-led study found that Natural Climate Solutions—which include reforestation, cover crops, coastal restoration, and other management practices could prevent or sequester more than one-fifth of annual U.S. greenhouse gas pollution—the equivalent of removing the emissions from all U.S. cars and trucks from the road. Or, to frame it another away, the equivalent of the entire annual emissions from Brazil.  

While significant investments are now being made in renewable energy and other technologies to decarbonize the energy sector, the Accelerator program seeks to correspondingly increase investment in the oldest, and one of the most cost-effective carbon capture technologies there is—nature.  Over time, the Accelerator strives to support and develop a portfolio of proven approaches and mechanisms to deploying natural solutions that landowners, state and federal governments, corporations, and other climate leaders can efficiently implement on a broad scale.

Application Process

When the third round of grant making is launched in early 2020, project proposals from 501(c)(3) not-for-profits for work located anywhere in the United States will be encouraged to apply. A selection committee will evaluate proposals and select projects primarily based on their assessment of:

  1. the potential for delivering significant climate change mitigation benefits;
  2. likelihood of reaching transformative scale; and 
  3. the capacity of the affiliated organizations to achieve success.  

The selection committee will prioritize funding for a diverse portfolio of projects representing novel approaches for scaling climate solutions in a range of natural and working lands (forests, agricultural lands and grasslands, and wetlands) and geographies. Grant term is 18 months.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Natural Climate Solutions Overview: A Natural Path for U.S. Climate Action

US Natural Climate Solutions

Read Our Study

Changes in land management can make a big contribution to climate mitigation in the United States. A new study examines the country’s potential to implement natural solutions—such as reforestation, practices that improve soil health and forest carbon management,  restore coastal wetlands, as well as practices that prevent conversion of natural and working lands—to increase carbon storage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Essentially, these practices can turbo-charge nature to address climate change, while also providing natural benefits for people, water and wildlife.

21 NCS Pathways in the United States

Previous Awardees

In 2018,  the U.S. Natural Climate Solutions Accelerator program awarded a combined $850,000 to five projects, with funding generously provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These projects are currently underway; testing the viability and scalability of their models. They include: 

The Steering Committee

Robert Bonnie, Fellow, Duke University
Rich Brown, Senior Vice President of Global Environmental Group, Bank of America
Jad Daley, President and CEO, American Forests
Jacqueline Emanuel, Director, National Partnership Office, U.S. Forest Service
Rita Hite, Woodlands and Policy Executive Vice President, American Forest Foundation
Claire Jahns, Senior Advisor, U.S. Climate Alliance
Catherine Macdonald, North America Natural Climate Solutions Director, The Nature Conservancy

Program Staff

Eriks Brolis, US NCS Accelerator Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy
Natalya Skiba, US NCS Accelerator Program Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy


The Nature Conservancy is a District of Columbia, USA, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that operates in all 50 U.S. states and impacts conservation in 79 countries and territories. Grants will be awarded in a non-discriminatory manner with fair treatment given to all applicants. As a 501(c)(3) organization, TNC must abide by the applicable rules of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and will conduct relevant legal analyses during its selection of finalists for the Accelerator program.  Accordingly, TNC reserves the right to reject any and all applications for any reason whatsoever, to waive technicalities, and to award grants in a manner that is consistent with the organization’s policies and procedures. Please also see TNC’s Privacy Policy.