The World Land Trust has helped save nearly 300,000 acres of tropical rainforests and other habitats since it was founded in 1989. That’s more than the RSPB owns after more than a century of existence.
This does not mean that the work of the RSPB is not vital, it’s simply a reflection on the fact that land in the UK can be very expensive – all UK's county wildlife trusts together own only about 60,000 acres. Land prices in the UK are often over £4000 an acre, but where the World Land Trust is operating, prices are usually under £75 an acre, and can be less than £10 an acre. In fact there are parts of the Amazon where one acre can be purchased for as little as £2. And of course the range of species can be enormous.
In 1989 the 'buy an acre of rainforest' concept was developed for the newly founded Programme for Belize (PfB). The PfB received a huge amount of publicity and stimulated the creation of a new charity – the World Land Trust.
Although land purchase was controversial at the time, with the benefit of hindsight it is clear that acquisition was by far the most effective conservation strategy. The land purchase in Belize, which resulted directly from WLT's fundraising, is now part of the largest single tract of forest left in the whole of Central America.
Help us tell the world about our work by linking to the World Land Trust from your website.
The World Land Trust went on to successfully raise funds for land acquisition in the Philippines, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina, and is currently considering proposals from India, Bolivia and other parts of the world.
To ensure long term sustainability of its projects, the WLT always involves local non-government organisations (NGOs), which have the ultimate responsibility for the protected areas.