Fund for Climate Solutions

A unique funding source for a time of urgency

The Fund for Climate Solutions accelerates high-impact, solutions-focused research.

Installation of flux tower in Alaska Play

The Fund for Climate Solutions (FCS) was launched in 2018 as a $10M capital campaign with a vision of advancing innovative, solutions-oriented climate science through a competitive, internal, and cross-disciplinary funding process. Thanks to the generosity of Woodwell’s donor community, we successfully completed that campaign in 2022. FCS has funded dozens of projects that push the boundaries of our knowledge, influence decision makers, and attract additional funding for critically important work. 

Since its creation, the FCS has grown into a biannual granting program that has become a pillar of Woodwell Climate’s science. We seek and welcome contributions to continue the Fund for Climate Solutions.

These grants advance our mission of developing just, science-based solutions to the climate crisis and help to:

  • respond to time-sensitive opportunities for societal impact;
  • extend or augment crucial research initiatives;
  • seed new projects that offer breakthrough policy or scientific impact;
  • allow startup projects to get off the ground to show proof of concept work for outside funding opportunities, such as the NSF, private foundations, and other partners;
  • enable immediate follow up on promising new research results without the delay of searching for additional funding.

At Woodwell Climate, we know that it takes courage to make an impact, and we are committed to supporting our scientists’ most cutting-edge climate science for change.

To date we have raised $10M, awarded more than $6M in grants to fund 53 projects, and completed 10 rounds of funding.

Above: Rob Stenson and Anya Suslova sampling the Santuit River on Cape Cod.

photo by Alexander Nassikas

Some examples of Woodwell Climate projects that got their start with FCS funding, and catalyzed future successes are the following:

FCS grant: That project went on to:
Funded a ground-based greenhouse gas monitoring station in the Arctic. Grow into Permafrost Pathways, a $41M project collaborating with Harvard Belfer Center and Alaska Institute for Justice.
Supported hosting a workshop for ranchers, conservationists, and scientists and developing a tool to track rangeland carbon. Head into the field to verify the carbon tracking tool and expand workshops to even more participants, with funding support from Conscience Bay, Mighty Arrow Foundation, and the Kaplan Fund.
Worked with partner organization Wild Heritage to estimate current carbon storage and emissions from harvested wood products across old-growth forests of the Tongass National Forest. Targeted communications and outreach efforts around this research contributed to the Biden Administration’s decision to ban logging and road building on the Tongass National Forest, reinstating previous protections that were removed in 2020.
Financed the installation of 16 air quality sensors in the Amazon, as well as a workshop convening researchers, state officials, and policy experts. Secure matching funds for a larger workshop to develop policy recommendations in Manaus, Brazil that will include representatives from all Amazon states.

To learn more about the Fund for Climate Solutions and become involved, contact Leslie Kolterman, Chief Philanthropic Officer, at; or Melissa Poueymirou, Senior Philanthropic Advisor, at

Below are the awarded projects of the Winter 2023 grant cycle.

Project lead: Dr. Jacquline Hung

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a prevalent, powerful—and understudied—greenhouse gas. Soils are the largest contributors of N2O emissions, but understanding of N2O fluxes is limited by lack of real-time monitoring technology. Given our broad geographic coverage and long history of innovation in measuring greenhouse gases, Woodwell Climate is well-positioned to address this gap. This award will support the purchase of cutting-edge field equipment for instantaneous N2O measurements, as well as the development of a laboratory system for measuring multiple greenhouse gases in soil experiments. Together, these will enable advances in understanding how changing soil conditions around the globe—from permafrost thaw to wetland restoration, rangeland management to tropical deforestation—affect the balance of nitrous oxide.

Project lead: Kathleen Savage

Trees accumulate carbon as they grow, making them critical climate assets. However, many forests are also commercial sources of timber and wood fiber. Forest harvesting is generally assumed to result in a net release of carbon, even after accounting for the carbon stored in wood products. As the search for practical climate solutions intensifies, a central question is whether this either-or thinking could be reframed as yes-and. In other words, whether commercial forests could be managed to meet multiple goals—providing wood and paper products, creating economic returns from natural resources, and sequestering carbon? The proposed work builds on our longstanding research at the Howland Research Forest, addressing whether shelterwood harvesting can be both an economically viable harvest practice and a natural climate solution.

Project lead: Dr. Taniya RoyChowdhury

Cover crops have the potential to enhance carbon uptake and stability in agricultural soils and, under the Inflation Reduction Act, the USDA is poised to invest billions of dollars in adoption of cover crops as a climate-smart practice. However, current understanding of the effectiveness of cover cropping to deliver climate benefits is lacking a key consideration—microbial processes. Soil microbial communities are key regulators of soil carbon dynamics, and may determine whether a given land management practice results in net loss or gain of carbon. This work will characterize microbial processes and their role in soil carbon stabilization in surface and deep soils in dynamic, mixed-species cover-cropping systems. The result will be enhanced understanding of the outcomes of cover-cropping practices, with potential policy relevance.

Project lead: Dr. Manoela Machado

The Amazon and Cerrado biomes hold vast carbon stores that are threatened by fires associated with both land clearing and a warmer, drier climate. However, the long-term responses of fire-impacted areas within these ecosystems could be dramatically different. While Amazon forests have not evolved with fire as a pressure, transitional forests and the  Cerrado are adapted for—and dependent on—regular fire for sustaining their structure and function. Understanding the effects of fire disturbance on carbon dynamics and the potential pathways of recovery in these ecosystems is critical. By mapping carbon stocks in fire-disturbed ecosystems and creating larger-scale scenarios, this work will provide a rich picture of what future carbon storage could look like under a range of possible fire disturbance/recovery dynamics.

Below: Community members assist Polaris Project student Derris Funmaker (left) and Dr. Sue Natali (right) with permafrost sampling.