New Document Retains Substance of Earlier Versions

The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, today announced the publication of the newest Land Trust Standards and Practices.


The 12 standards and related 59 practices encapsulate the ethical and technical guidelines for responsible land trust operation. First drafted in 1989 and periodically updated to maintain the land trust community’s strength, credibility and effectiveness, the 2017 version of Standards retains the substance of prior versions while making some significant changes. Updates include a new format that improves clarity and reduces redundancy and a focus on those practices that apply broadly to the land trust community.

Land Trust Standards and Practices were first created by practitioners who understood that a strong land trust community would be the surest way to lasting conservation,” said Sylvia Bates, the Alliance’s director of standards and educational services. “Land trusts are a respected and integral part of our nation’s land conservation work. Together, we must support our peers and hold ourselves to the highest standards as we continue to conserve the places we need and love.”

The new standards are available for download at the Alliance’s website,

“The nation’s more than 1,300 nonprofit land trusts have conserved 56 million acres of wildlife habitat, farms, ranches, forests, watersheds, recreation areas and other open spaces as of 2015,” said Andrew Bowman, the Alliance’s president. “The continued success of land trusts depends on public confidence in – and support of – our community as we build conservation programs that stand the test of time. It is, therefore, every land trust’s responsibility to uphold this public confidence and ensure the permanence of its conservation efforts.”

Each of the Alliance’s member land trusts must now adopt the revised Standards as guiding principles for its operations, pledging a commitment to uphold the public confidence and the credibility of the land trust community as a whole. Starting in June 2017 and using a board adoption resolution included within the new Standards, all members of the Alliance must confirm adoption of the new Standards when membership is renewed.

The Land Trust Alliance wishes to thank all the individual, foundation and corporate supporters of Together: A Campaign for the Land who helped make the 2017 revisions possible, as well as the members of the land trust community for providing feedback and the Standards Advisory Team for its leadership.