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July 07, 2006



Excessive CEO compensation is an issue with large non-profits as well as large for profit corporations. The Washington Post's three day series on The Nature Conservancy a few years ago made this point as well. The Post had a definite agenda and was looking for more dirt than it found, but there was cause to question some of the practices of TNC and other environmental non-profits and a great deal has happened since then - including a Senate Finance inquiry and intense emphasis on governance and standards and practices for conservation non-profits lead by the Land Trust Alliance.

I'm a mid-level conservation professional and have worked for TNC, for myself and now for TPL in this profession for more than a decade. It is too easy for large conservation entities however well intentioned to be seduced by "bucks and acres", using leverage to move partners instead of to enhance partnerships, and to fail to value the perspectives and attitudes of those who live on the land. Community-based natural resource management is a different orientation, and one that I believe to be both the harder and more sustainable conservation path.

Al Mollitor

I saw a link in the Ivory-bill Skeptic blog to an article about the high salaries, perks and lifestyles that the heads of large, national environmental organizations demand. I told me that it's not just rural people that they are out of touch with.

This is particularly ironic, because the 'natural' landscape that so many of us love has actually been shaped by centuries of human activity. I guess professional land managers will always need to do a better job of making polititians and the general public understand that good stewardship is possible without locking everything up.


I don't have any statistics or testimonials to back it up, but I think the Missouri Department of Conservation has done a good job of bridging the gap between conservation values and the rural community. It has developed extensive "let's work with you" programs to allow farmers to manage their lands in ways that are also beneficial to wildlife and ecosystems. As I understand it, the Department is highly regarded among the rural community in Missouri.

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