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So what if Ted Turner remains the nation’s No. 2 landowner behind one-time chief cable TV competitor John Malone? Some might say it’s not how much land you have it’s what you do with it, and Turner has been busy racking up kudos for his conservation efforts, according to the annual Land Report on the top 100 U.S. landowners.
Malone, the billionaire behind Liberty Media, the Atlanta Braves, Starz and other interests, surpassed Turner last year after purchasing 1 million acres in Maine and New Hampshire. Malone now has 2.2 million acres, compared with 2 million for Turner, the founder of CNN and former Braves owner.
The land investments not only produce working ranches, such as bison for Ted’s Montana Grill, but also are made for conservation purposes. The Land Report this year chose to focus on Turner’s “longtime leadership as a steward of the land” and highlighted some of the top awards he’s amassed just this year.
In March, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recognized the Turner Endangered Species Fund for efforts at his Vermejo Ranch in New Mexico and Bad River Ranch in South Dakota to protect the black-footed ferret. At his Avalon Plantation in Florida, Turner reintroduced the red-cockaded woodpecker; at his Flying D. Ranch in Montana he has protected the habitation of a species of gray wolf; and at his Ladder Ranch in New Mexico, he houses and breeds the Mexican wolf for release into the wild.
The American Fisheries Society has recognized Turner Endangered Species Fund and Turner’s Biodiversity Divisions for projects on behalf of westslope cutthroat trout, Rio Grande cutthroat trout, Rio Grande chub, Rio Grande sucker, and arctic grayling.
Turner, who Forbes earlier this year said is worth about $2 billion, has been leading a very contemplative life since his departure from Time Warner Inc., which purchased Turner Broadcasting System and CNN more than a decade ago then pushed him out after merging with AOL.
In an interview earlier this year with the Hollywood Reporter, Turner said he spends his days focused on the nonprofits he supports: Turner Foundation, the U.N. Foundation and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.