Survey Says: Ten Million Acres Protected

Who doesn't love a success story? Here' s a great one: 10 million acres across the nation are now forever protected thanks to the work of land trusts over the past five years.

Can we declare a "Hug Your Local Land Trust Day"? Think about it as you read on...

A new report by the Land Trust Alliance shows that land conservation by nonprofit land trusts across the United States is thriving, with more than 10 million acres conserved from 2005 to 2010. Land trusts in Hawaii contributed to this success, reporting an increase of 3,668% in acres conserved over this period.

Says the LTA, sponsors of the 2010 National Land Trust Census: "Saving land has given America the chance to know itself again. When we look into the mirror of our national identity, we can now see farms, urban gardens, historic sites, mountains and rivers—not just strip malls, bulldozers and traffic jams. Through land conservation, we give people the opportunity to taste something of what it is like to be authentically human: children rolling in the grass of an urban park; a grandfather teaching his granddaughter the quiet art of fishing; a fifth-generation farmer growing vegetables on his family’s homestead—nourishing his community with both fresh food and a farm stand where neighbors gather. We set out to save land, but, in the end, we build community, preserve beauty and instill hope."

In HAWAII the report shows strong growth in land conservation.

Hawaii’s Trends in Conservation: 2005–2010 • Land trusts in Hawaii have protected 20,499 acres—this represents a 3,668% increase in acres conserved since 2005. Hawaii ranks 46th in the nation in acres conserved, and 3rd in the Pacific (CA, HI, NV ). • Land trusts in Hawaii drew upon the work of 3,060 active volunteers and the contributions of 777 members and financial supporters. • As a signal of the land trust community’s commitment to excellence, there is now 1 accredited land trust in Hawaii, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, which has protected 17,444 acres as of 2010.

Cue the rounds of applause.

[The Land Trust Alliance has reported on the status and successes of land trusts since its founding in 1982. The National Land Trust Census measures the pace and quality of the important conservation work of local, state and national land trusts in the United States.]