Saving threatened habitats worldwide

How We Work

Tree planting at San Rafael

World Land Trust (WLT) is an international conservation charity, which protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats acre by acre. Since its foundation in 1989, WLT has funded partner organisations around the world to create reserves, and give permanent protection to habitats and wildlife.

Our mission

  • To protect and sustainably manage natural ecosystems of the world; to conserve their biodiversity, with emphasis on threatened habitats and endangered species

  • To develop partnerships with local individuals, communities and organisations; to engage support and commitment among the people who live in project areas

  • To raise awareness, in the UK and elsewhere, of the need for conservation; to improve understanding and generate support through education, information and fundraising

Overseas Project Partners

An essential part of WLT's philosophy is always to work through local partners. We believe too many international organisations ignore the opinions of local non-government organisations (NGOs) and try to impose management systems on them. WLT tries to empower local NGOs by providing finance for land purchase, and also for other related activities if the local partners request it. We have been able to provide a wide range of assistance, including equipment (computers, GIS), technical advisors on short term contracts, publications and reference books.

How WLT operates

WLT differs from most other international NGOs. It emphasises the importance of supporting local conservation groups and always working through local partners. Unlike the majority of international organisations WLT does not put its own staff in charge of operations, but relies on local expertise.

WLT depends on voluntary donations to assist with land purchases. Although WLT raises funds for purchase overseas, the management and ultimate ownership is with the appointed local conservation group. WLT is strongly opposed to "green colonialism".

WLT assists with technical expertise, such as marketing, fundraising and publicity when requested, but wherever possible supports the development of local expertise, by funding study tours and training.

WLT encourages small-scale, sustainable development, so that projects can become financially independent. This is in contrast to many international projects that have lavish funding initially, but are not sustainable without grant aid.

WLT believes that it is important to be able to quantify results, and that the area of land now under active conservation by WLT's partners is the best ambassador an organisation can have.

WLT does not hoard reserves of cash – it tries to have enough funds for three months operation, but believes it should spend as much as possible on land purchase and management, and the development of sustainable income for the reserve.

More information

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