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About Us

“There has been great creation and innovation brought to bear in the work of PFT.”

—Dan Esty, Yale University, PFT’s Forest Fete 2010 Keynote Speaker

Land Trust Alliance


Policy Associate

Wood, water, wildlife, and wonder.  Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) delivers landscape-scale private forest conservation in the West and develops innovative incentives for forest conservation at the national level. PFT works to conserve irreplaceable private forest landscapes—60% of all forests in the U.S.—and secure the vital forest resources we all depend on. We do so in a way that rewards private landowners, boosts local economies, and restores resilient forest ecosystem. PFT has pioneered payments for ecosystems services in multiple ways, from climate and energy policy, to carbon markets, to working forest conservation easements, to regulatory efficiencies. Our current policy foci include forests, climate, water, habitat, and renewable energy services.

Headquartered in the verdant Presidio of San Francisco, PFT is a collegial environment filled with bright minds that generate groundbreaking ideas and work hard to implement them. We also understand the value of work/life balance.

The Opportunity:

PFT’s small-yet-mighty, collaborative, creative, and deadline-oriented policy team requires a nimble staff member who can manage multiple and frequently competing priorities, and produce creatively under pressure—with grace and humor. The Policy Associate role is crucial to helping understand simply and tangibly the complex, often technical issues that confront forest landowners and stakeholders alike in our rapidly changing world. This is a diverse, hands-on position that requires initiative, critical thinking, and playing well with others. The Associate must balance research, analysis, advocacy, communication and organizational tasks with complex, deadline-driven projects.  The overarching job goal is to:

- Research and analyze key issues affecting PFT’s priority policy initiatives;
- Communicate these simply and effectively;
- Help formulate positions and; 
- Advocate PFT’s solutions-oriented approach to advancing these policies. 

The right candidate will be a team player in advancing and helping shape PFT ‘s policy initiatives and communications efforts to support them.


The Policy Associate will provide support to PFT’s policy programs developing and implementing incentives for forest conservation and sustainable management.  The position’s primary focus is research, analysis and supporting policy development for private forestland conservation incentives in California and federal policy, with additional focus on relevant state policy in Oregon and Washington, especially regarding the role of forests in climate change.

Duties include applied research and analysis of forest related climate change science and policies, forest ecosystem services, (e.g. watershed services), and, as feasible, changes to conservation tax policy as well as state and federal conservation funding programs. The Policy Associate also supports PFT advocacy efforts by drafting letters, memos, representing PFT at meetings and providing support to PFT–organized coalitions.

Tasks and Responsibilities:

1. Research, analyze and report on key topics as directed, including: state and federal legislation and regulations regarding forests; management and other forest land use; climate change and adaptation; water and other ecosystem services; tax incentives, and other policy issues related to private forestland management and conservation (e.g., fish and wildlife habitat, etc..) 

2. Keep PFT’s scientific knowledge current through synopses of new scientific studies and literature regarding climate change, adaptation, ecosystem services and conservation issues related to PFT’s initiatives.  

3. Support, and as directed, represent PFT in collaborative efforts to develop new incentives as well as maintain and improve key state and federal conservation funding.

4. Serve as coordinator for PFT’s Klamath Cascade Advisory Council: arranging meetings, developing draft agendas and minutes; providing logistical support.

5. Provide support for PFT policy efforts on climate change, adaptation and the full range of sustainable forest products and services—from water to energy, as well as traditional products-- at state, regional, and federal levels. 

6. Develop clear, compelling information materials such as white papers, fact sheets, print and web content, and other educational materials.

7. Assist in other policy initiatives as needed and directed.  

Current 2015 Foci:

Activities in 2015-16 include: a significant focus on climate/adaptation services of, and risks to, forests; incentives for forest watershed function and endangered species protection; and ensuring the effective implementation of AB 32, especially relative to the role of natural lands in achieving or exceeding the targeted reductions.


Masters degree in relevant field of forest ecology, conservation biology, policy or economics preferred; Bachelors degree in similar fields a must. Relevant job experience a plus. Excellent research, writing and analytical skills required. Ability to understand and assimilate complex environmental issues and policies effectively and quickly, convey them simply, and advocate effectively are desired attributes. Proficiency in Mac environment needed, with facility in standard computer programs essential. A commitment to creative conservation and the mission of The Pacific Forest Trust, along with humor and a positive, enthusiastic attitude, will distinguish the successful candidate. A valid driver’s license is required.

Reports To:

The President, part of policy team often working closely with the VP-Policy, and collaborates with the Conservation and Development-Communications departments on various projects.


PFT’s main office: San Francisco, CA. Travel of up to 10% within California likely, with additional travel from time to time.

How to Apply:

If you are interested in and fully qualified for this position, email a targeted resume with a cover letter emphasizing your interest and experience to: jobs@pacificforest.org, with "Policy Associate" in the subject line. Please include your salary requirements in the cover letter.

Download the official job description