Big Gains in Voluntary Land Conservation Despite Recession

The Land Trust Alliance released the first national census of land trusts in 5 years and found that 10 million new acres have been conserved nationwide since 2005. The story was picked up by USA Today.

The Alliance’s report includes state-by-state analysis and shows that total protected acreage in Wisconsin exceeds 280,000.  Gathering Waters Conservancy helped spread the news about the National Census and Wisconsin’s success in this release.

Other highlights of the National Land Trust Census include:

  • Voluntarily protected land increased 27% between 2005 and 2010.
  • A total of 47 million acres — an area twice the size of all national parks in the contiguous U.S.  — are now protected by land trusts.
  • Operating budgets for land trusts are up 36% since 2005.  State and local land trusts nearly tripled operating endowments in 5 years to ensure that land trust-protected land stays protected.
  • The preservation of family farms and ranchlands is now a priority for 61% of land trusts, up from 21% in 2005.
  • Urban parks, gardens or open spaces is now a priority for 27% of land trusts, a threefold increase over respondents in 2005.

Gathering Waters Conservancy completes an annual survey of Wisconsin’s land trusts and released a Wisconsin census report  in 2010.  Similarly impressive results included a 261% increase in acres protected by land trusts in Wisconsin from 2005 – 2009.

Land Protected by Land Trusts in Wisconsin