Saving threatened habitats worldwide

History of ‘Buy an Acre of Rainforest’

25 October, 2011 - 12:47 -- John Burton
Laguna Grande

Concern for the conservation of rainforests really started in the 1980s. Since that time a number of Foundations and Trusts concerned solely with rainforest conservation have been founded. The World Land Trust, was originally founded as the World Wide Land Conservation Trust, and had as its primary concern the conservation of a rainforest in Belize. But over the past 20 years the World Land Trust has expanded its remit and activities to cover all threatened habitats.

Since the foundation of the World Land Trust (WLT), a number of other charities and trusts have sprung up, mostly with more restricted interests, such as Rainforest Concern, the Rainforest Foundation, and the Rainforest Trust. There are also a large number of much smaller charities with interests restricted to single projects, such as an individual patch of rainforest.

The Buy an Acre concept

The World Land Trust was founded on, what at the time was a very novel concept, that £25 would buy and protect an acre of rainforest in Belize. 20 years on, while it is still possible to save an acre for under £100, the World Land Trust has continued to be innovative, and was one of the first charities to expand its activities to include avoided deforestation, as well as restoration ecology. A primary concern in all of the World Land Trust’s activities is the conservation of biodiversity, particularly in species-rich habitats such as rainforests, but also in areas which are less rich in species but nonetheless important for the unique biodiversity they contain. Such habitats as steppe, desert, chaco and woodlands.

Like all good ideas, there have been numerous attempts to copy it, and not all the organisations ‘buying’ acres are really doing so – thorough checking of credentials is essential.

Long-term support

With the long-term support of many well-known naturalists and scientists, including its Patron, Sir David Attenborough, the World Land Trust’s expenditure on land purchase and related conservation activities, is now significant. And despite the current economic turndown, the success of the World Land Trust, has encouraged donors to continue to support its activities.

Never has the need for securing rainforests and other habitats been greater, and a donation to the WLT, of whatever amount really will make a difference. And buying an acre or two as gifts, is a good way of solving the problem for the person who has too much ‘stuff’, but wants to do something useful.

How you can help

Buy an Acre of threatened habitat »

Buy an Acre as a gift »

Read more about the WLT's history and main achievements »

 

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