Working Lands

Working lands represent one of the best hopes for conservation. These parcels of forests, ranches, and farms add up to roughly a billion acres—or about half the land in the entire Lower 48 states. Audubon collaborates with landowners, land managers, government agencies, and private industry across the hemisphere to increase the quality of habitat on privately managed lands to benefit 20 flagship bird species. Audubon also helps landowners and land managers apply bird-friendly practices on their lands and develop market-based solutions to build economic incentives that have the potential to engage many more landowners. And Audubon works on federal policies that substantially influence the management of land to advance large-scale solutions that benefit both landowners and the environment.  

The Farm Bill is an important vehicle for conservation on America's working lands. Click here to read more about Audubon's position on the 2018 Farm Bill. In it, we discuss Audubon's conservation priorities and highlight conservation programs that are supported by the Farm Bill.


Theory of Change

We will focus on four landscapes dominated by private lands and where birds and habitat are most threatened: California’s Central Valley; the sagebrush ecosystem of the interior West; North American grasslands, including the Chihuahuan Desert; and eastern forests. Audubon will help landowners and land managers apply bird-friendly practices, and drive market-based solutions that influence ecosystem health at scale. 

How to Get There

Audubon will:

  • Develop market-based conservation solutions that help land managers increase the profitability of their lands as they adopt bird-friendly practices.
  • Create land-management practices that target specific bird species and their habitat needs.
  • Monitor and measure responses to these land-management practices to ensure the desired conservation outcomes are achieved.
  • Collaborate with landowners to expand bird habitats, providing tools and technical assistance to adopt beneficial land practices.
  • Through advocacy and partnering with agencies, increase government incentives for bird conservation on working lands.
  • Increase conservation efforts on working lands throughout the Western Hemisphere by collaborating with local partners.
  • Engage on a policy level around reauthorization of the U.S. farm bill to promote sound conservation policies and increase conservation funding. 

Measurable Goals

  • Increase or stabilize the populations of 20 flagship bird species by reducing threats in four priority landscapes, thus benefiting bird species throughout the Western Hemisphere.
  • Continue Audubon’s leadership role with 11 states, multiple federal agencies, and thousands of private-sector stakeholders to implement Greater Sage-Grouse recovery plans. These plans will now cover 67 million acres; successful implementation will protect more than 350 additional species.
  • Increase the acreage of working lands in bird-friendly management programs by 500,000 acres per year.
  • Increase by 10 percent the amount of public and private funding available to private landowners to adopt bird-friendly land-management practices.
  • Through active outreach and technical assistance, engage 10,000 land managers in bird-friendly land management. 

Where We Work

Working Lands

The Fight for the Greater Sage-Grouse

One Bird, 11 States, 165 Million Acres—How Audubon Helped Protect the Sagebrush’s Most Iconic Resident.
Working Lands

Arctic Slope

Audubon Alaska is pursuing permanent wilderness designation for the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Working Lands

Eastern Grasslands & Shrublands

Creating a network of protected private and public lands
Working Lands

Eastern Forests

Full-lifecycle conservation for seven priority species along the Atlantic Flyway
Working Lands

Grassland Birds

Developing market-based management of dwindling prairie habitat that benefits birds and ranchers alike
Working Lands

Sagebrush Ecosystem

Balancing prairie-bird protection with our nation’s need for energy
Working Lands

Tongass National Forest

Protecting some of the world's last remaining temperate rainforest
Working Lands

California Working Lands

California’s Central Valley is one of this country’s most important food-producing areas, and a critical habitat for many birds
Working Lands

Audubon Conservation Ranching

Grassland birds have suffered an unparalleled decline over the past half century, stemming from widespread development of North America’s...

Related News

Working Lands

Audubon and Partners Announce First Bird-Friendly Certified Bison Ranch in Montana

October 04, 2023 — North Bridger Bison ranch in Shields Valley, Montana is using bison to boost birds.
A small owl standing in grass holds a worm dangling from its beak and looks at the camera with its bright yellow eye.
Working Lands

Ranchlands’ Colorado & Wyoming Ranches Certified as Audubon Bird-Friendly Habitats

August 22, 2023 — Cattle cater to bird conservation in the Audubon Conservation Ranching program
An Eastern Meadowlark vocalizing with its beak wide open. It's a small bird, yellow on the belly with a black stripe running from its shoulder to its center. The back is rufous with mottled black pips. Its face has a pop of yellow between its beak and eye, and there's strong speed stripe racing from the back of the eye towards the rear of the head. The bird is perched on a wood post and the background is soft warm and green tones in a creamy bokeh.
Working Lands

National Audubon Society Names Ashly Steinke its Grassland Ecologist for Wisconsin

August 21, 2023 — Will build landowner relationships that help the Audubon Conservation Ranching program grow
Working Lands

Herefords Support Habitat at Audubon Certified Bird-Friendly Orvis Cattle Company

August 08, 2023 — Rotational grazing works for grassland birds in the Audubon Conservation Ranching program
Working Lands

National Audubon Society Names Krysten Zummo its Grassland Ecologist for Minnesota

August 04, 2023 — Will build landowner relationships that help the Audubon Conservation Ranching program grow