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By saving acres with WLT you will be taking direct action to save tropical forests and other important wildlife areas, by funding the purchase of threatened habitats. The acres you buy are protected as nature reserves, owned and managed by local organisations. See the How we work page for more details on how the Trust operates.
When we started the Programme for Belize, we were the only organisation in Britain ‘buying’ rainforest. Because of the success of this way of saving rainforest and other habitats, several other organisations have now adopted this as a method of fundraising. Most of them are doing a great job, and we really do welcome their involvement – there is a lot of rainforest and other habitats that need saving and the more people doing it the better. However, because it has been successful there are also some organisations that have seen it as ‘bandwagon’ and an easy way to raise funds. Before making any charitable donation you should check the charity thoroughly – look at its annual report and accounts, see who the staff are, what their experience is, see who the Trustees are, and what they know about conservation – all fairly obvious and easy to do.
These are some of the ways in which WLT differs from other conservation organisations:
“WLT doesn’t own a square inch of land overseas. Rather, it has consistently supported partner organisations in other countries […]. As a result, 350,000 acres of land overseas are managed for conservation by organisations in the appropriate country.”
Simon Barnes, from “Saved: the wildest place on earth“, The Times, 18 June 2008
- Track record of achievements
- Implementation of projects is by local people working for local organisations
- High level of expertise among all staff and trustees
- Habitats are purchased for permanent protection – not limited sponsorship
- Have been operating since 1989, saving existing, mature forests
- Transparent about expenditure and who is involved in the Trust
- You can earmark donations for specific projects
There are very good websites, already used by many WLT supporters, which allow you to set up your own fundraising campaign: Justgiving.com and VirginMoneyGiving. You can use them to ask friends to make donations instead of wedding gifts, sponsor you in a marathon, or support any other fundraising ideas you have. The sites are easy to use – so why not give them a go?
For more details about fundraising for WLT you can also contact WLT.
WLT has never run a membership scheme – concentrating instead on encouraging donors to make regular donations. Membership administration can be time-consuming and costly and WLT aims to keep its overheads to a minimum. However, WLT does have a loyal band of WLT Friends who are committed to WLT’s objectives and this is not dissimilar to a membership. WLT Friends pledge a monthly donation of £5 or more via Direct Debit, helping us plan vital land purchases, knowing that they have pledged their donation in advance. WLT Friends are the backbone of World Land Trust and their commitment and support acts to influence other individual and corporate supporters when choosing to support us.
The acres of threatened habitat we ‘sell’ are real acres in real places, but you do not actually own them. The land is always owned and managed by WLT’s Local Partners in the countries where we operate.
The price of £100 an acre is an average. We have worked out, what we consider to be a fair average, taking into account the costs of actual purchase (legal fees, taxes etc).
2. How can I be sure that land I have helped protect will remain safe from threats such as mining or agriculture?
This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends entirely on the country involved, and its system of land protection.
What we can say is that every reserve that our donors have ever helped fund still exists, is not threatened by agriculture, and many have received protection by state legislation. We work with a network of local partners who are experts on land conservation in their countries who advise on the best form of protection in local regions considering the threats faced.
However, in some countries, mining and oil exploration will always be a potential issue, since in many places underground resources are owned by the state. This can be mitigated by carrying out due diligence, and ensuring that good relations are maintained with relevant government authorities, which our partners excel at.
You can specify in which project area you would like to save acres and you can certainly visit the area you have helped save, though we do not identify individual acres. As projects get established, basic field stations are built to enable small groups to visit. See Visit WLT’s Conservation Projects for more information.
A donation of £100 will save one acre, on average, in Bolivia, Ecuador and Mexico. Or donate to the Buy an Acre Fund and your donation will be used in the project area where it is most urgently needed among the projects where £100 saves an acre.
In our other project areas such as Malaysian Borneo, India and Kenya land prices are much more expensive and variable and we are therefore unable to specify in advance how many acres your donation will buy. However, rest assured that your donation to these projects will be used for land purchase and protection and nothing else.
The price of £100 an acre is an average. This is because not only do land values vary geographically, but they also vary locally. Access to roads, whether or not there is forest, or if they have been cleared for cattle ranching all affect the price. So we have worked out, what we consider to be a fair average, taking into account the costs of actual purchase (legal fees, taxes etc) but not including long-term management and protection. In some parts of South America our partners are able to buy land very cheaply, and it is in those projects area where we offer our supporters the chance to save an acre for £100.
It is a complex issue, and for donors making large donations we are always happy to discuss an individual project and what the exact costs are. But rest assured, donors ‘buying’ half an acre, one acre or five acres: £100 really does, on average, save an acre.
In other parts of the world, land is very much more expensive and land prices vary enormously, which means that for our projects in those areas we are unable to specify in advance how many acres your donation will save.
How much land your donation will save depends on the project area. In some parts of South America our partners are able to buy land very cheaply. In other parts of the world, land is very much more expensive and land prices vary enormously. For donations to these areas we don’t always know in advance how many acres your donation will be able to buy. What we can guarantee, is that your donation will be used for land purchase and protection and nothing else. Your donation is saving real acres in real places, permanently – it is not a limited sponsorship or ‘adoption’ of a piece of land sold over and over again.
WLT is completely open about its finances and unlike many other charities, publishes summaries of its finances on its website, so you can see where your money actually goes. See our financial page for more information. You can also see what donations are spent on by visiting the reserves saved by World Land Trust and its partners. Other information is published in our Annual Review and Accounts, WLT News, and eBulletins.
WLT considered this very carefully, but the code we would be signing up to is exceptionally long and complex, and consequently very difficult to understand. Furthermore it is a voluntary code, with no real methods of enforcement, which we believe is a major weakness. We do not believe that self-regulation by fundraisers is an effective way of ensuring high standards.
We believe that the standards we set are much higher than many other fundraisers, and that the standards we work to are those appreciated by our supporters. However we will continue to monitor the activities of the FRSB and will reconsider on a regular basis, if it is shown to be effective.
WLT does not actually employ fundraisers, as we believe that everyone that works with us, or for us, in one way or another is a fundraiser. We believe that the best way of raising funds is to be efficient and to do what you are good at.
Some other websites include links to the WLT in return for a small commission on any donations resulting from clicks on those links. These links help WLT reach a wider audience in a cost-effective way. Commissions are paid out of the WLT’s general funds and not out of the funds restricted to land purchase projects, so you can rest assured that however you found WLT, your donation will be used for our conservation projects and nothing else.
This question addresses two important points. First, World Land Trust itself owns no land outside the UK, and has a strict policy that includes local people in all its projects. Before a project is initiated WLT identifies a local partner organisation with whom a Memorandum of Understanding is signed and a work programme agreed. Ownership of the land purchased is with this partner organisation, not WLT.
WLT is responsible for fundraising and overseeing the project in the early stages and the local organisation works with the local community to achieve the conservation goals. Support from local government is also a top priority. Local people are employed as park wardens and, when possible, local scientists are used to carry out research at the project sites; also volunteers from nearby towns and universities are invited to take part in projects to conserve their native land and wildlife.
Secondly, why buy the land? There is much debate about the ‘correct’ way to conserve land, and we do recognise that land purchase is only one of the several methods that can ensure the survival of threatened habitats. However, WLT feels that ownership of land gives a great deal more control over its future than other forms of protection, and, once purchased, the land belongs to the local organisations who take over the responsibility for its protection. See Land Purchase as a Tool for Conservation for more details on our land purchase policy.
A management plan is developed by WLT and its local partner, aimed at securing legal protection for the land. Each project, because of its urgency and degree of threat, comes with a different set of problems, and so the solutions for each will differ, but long term conservation of the land and its wildlife is always the key objective.
In addition to land protection, WLT also helps develop forms of sustainable and environmentally friendly income activities for the local community. This might be ecotourism, crafts or sustainable forestry on the land, with a view to assisting the project to become an independent entity and not reliant on further funds from the Trust. After this, the project continues to be managed by the local partner, leaving WLT to fundraise to save more threatened land elsewhere.
3. How can you ensure that the land is adequately protected and not used and/or destroyed by people after it has been purchased?
Unfortunately there is no single answer to this question. As mentioned above, because each project presents its unique problems we need to find different ways of ensuring protection. The essential element of all our operations is that we work with local people, and enthuse them about ‘their’ habitats and ‘their’ wildlife.
By involving local conservationists and local communities we reduce the risks of encroachment considerably; they know the local situation and can head off any potential conflicts. If there is occasional incursion into the forests this is quickly dealt with by park wardens who are familiar with the borders.
We believe that maintaining an active and visible presence, through wardens and researchers, and providing jobs for local people, is an effective method to ensure long-term security. And of course, the purchase of the land ensures that our local partners have clear title to the land, so that any encroachment would be illegal.
Britain has an extensive network of protected areas, and the costs of acquisition of new ones are very high. There are also already in existence numerous organisations devoted to conserving land in Britain. It is worth noting that a new 15,000-acre reserve in Britain could cost between £6 and £60 million while WLT funded the purchase of a similar sized ranch in Patagonia for £250,000. WLT does have one small UK reserve at Kites Hill, but this was generously gifted to us and did not involve purchase costs.
5. Why do the land sizes claimed to have been saved by Rainforest Trust and other NGOs differ so greatly from the WLT?
It all depends on what is meant by saved. In the WLT we only mention the lands we have been directly involved with, and normally only lands that have actually been purchased. Other organisations use different measurements, and may include the whole area under consideration. It would be perfectly legitimate for us to claim that we have helped save two areas of 100,000 acres each, when we purchase a corridor of say 10,000 acres. We could justifiably claim that we have helped save 210,000 acres for wildlife. But we don’t. Every land purchase is different, and sometimes long leases are also involved. So the only way of answering the question is really on an individual basis. The same applies to the huge variations in land prices.
6. Why does WLT raise funds to purchase land inside areas designated as reserves? Surely land inside a reserve is already protected?
In many countries including the UK, the fact that land is designated as a protected area and governed by the state does not necessarily mean that it is being managed for conservation. Biosphere reserves, national parks and protected areas will usually include some element of privately owned land – as is the case with national parks in Britain. Funding for national parks is often inadequate and those living within parks or within a park’s sphere of influence may not be provided with alternative sources of income or other motivations to be stewards of the land. If resources are not mobilised for effective management, protected areas can be little more than “paper parks” and serve little or no conservation function. Therefore, when WLT puts funds towards purchasing land within a reserve, it is because the property being purchased will only be fully protected for conservation if the land is owned by a local conservation organisation.
This is largely opportunistic. Through research and contacts throughout the world, the Trust learns when land becomes available which is in direct threat of habitat destruction. For example, when WLT Honorary President, Jerry Bertrand, was leading an eco-tour through Patagonia, he discovered that there were vast stretches of coastline, relatively untouched and rich in wildlife in Patagonia. He also witnessed firsthand the demise of much of the coastal steppe for unsympathetic development, as land became available due to the crash in the price of wool on the world market. Patagonia’s coastline and steppe are extraordinarily rich in wildlife and this was clearly an emergency that needed to be addressed.
Every potential project which comes to WLT (and there are up to 20 in any year) is put through an evaluation process, based on a set of project selection criteria agreed by WLT Trustees, including the biodiversity value, the level of threat, and possible risks associated. The evaluation ensures that the land being purchased is of high conservation value and that it is appropriate for WLT to become involved.
Yes, always. World Land Trust is a member of IUCN – the World Conservation Union, and all its projects are carried out with local non-government organisations (NGOs). World Land Trust has an extensive network and is able to establish new partnerships almost anywhere in the world. We have also been helped by British companies assisting with study tours for our overseas project partners.
In many parts of the world, governments simply do not have the funds to adequately protect the land they already own. Many developing countries are heavily in debt to the developed world, and we all share a responsibility for ensuring that the world’s wildlife survives into the future. Wherever possible we try to ensure that we have the support of the local government and we are working particularly closely with the government of Paraguay.
In January 1989, the Massachusetts Audubon Society made a grant of US$10,000 (approx. £6,670) to John Burton to set up an office in the UK, for the sole purpose of raising funds for a brand new project concept: Programme for Belize. The target was to double the original US$10,000 by the end of the year, but by the time of the official launch, in May, when the late Gerald Durrell, and his wife, Lee, came over from Jersey to officiate, £25,000 had already been raised. The charity was formed and subsequently became World Land Trust.
5. How come your office is in Halesworth, if you are an international organisation? Why aren’t you based in London?
With modern communications the location of an office is relatively unimportant. Phone, fax and email mean that we can be in contact with our partners in Patagonia or Philippines or anywhere else in the world, just as easily from rural Suffolk as London.
WLT finds that there are considerable advantages to its rural location, mainly in that running costs of an office are dramatically less in Suffolk. Staff salaries are also lower, due to the relative cost of living, but quality of life is much better. The extra costs of regular visits (by train) to London for meetings, is easily offset by the reduction in other costs.
Finally, we are based in an area with lots of nature reserves, where we can actually see and appreciate the wildlife we all consider so important to save.
The WLT is a relatively small organisation, and our staff turnover is extremely low. Jobs at WLT’s office in Suffolk, UK are posted on our vacancies page.
From time to time our overseas conservation partners recruit internationally. Details of paid positions, that are relevant to international applicants, with partner organisations will be detailed in the news pages of WLT website.
World Land Trust does not run general volunteer programmes at our project areas, although we do encourage our supporters to visit our partners’ projects and to offer voluntary assistance. If the organisation runs a volunteering programme we suggest applying to them directly (contact details for all our project partners are on our website).
Very occasionally, World Land Trust is asked by one of its project partners to recruit an international volunteer, to acquire a specialist skill not available locally. These skills have been very varied – from drainage engineers, skilled builders, and marketing experts. These opportunities will be advertised on our vacancies page as and when they arise.
World Land Trust does not currently have programmes for gap year students.
Biologists and field conservationists are a relatively small part of a conservation organisation, so unless you have a degree in these fields, it may be more useful to look at the range of roles required by a conservation organisation. Experience in any of the following is likely to be useful: accounting, fundraising, database management, web design, IT, editing and copywriting, education and project management. Having an active interest in wildlife is always an advantage if applying for a job in conservation so volunteering at your local nature reserve is likely to stand you in good stead. If you have not worked in conservation before, look at our information page on How to apply for Conservation jobs.
World Land Trust does not give grants to individuals, and does not support expeditions. Grants are normally only made to NGOs with a good track record of land management. Before applying to the WLT it is essential to have read the Projects Criteria.
Sir David asks us to remind enquirers that he is in his 90s and is not taking on new commitments. He is still heavily involved in filming and is booked up many months in advance so is generally unable to accept invitations to speak at events and conferences. Also please note that Sir David is unable to endorse products, read manuscripts, accept invitations to write forewords in books or attend book launches. As you may expect, he is bombarded with requests and consequently, we are reluctant to pass on letters. If you really believe your wish to contact him is important you can write to him c/o WLT and we will forward the letter. (Please note that we can only forward actual letters, not emails, and we cannot guarantee a response.)
WLT can usually supply a representative to speak at a public or private event if travel expenses are reimbursed (and very occasionally, when they are not). Speakers are usually staff members, but from time to time we do have interns and other volunteers who are prepared to give talks. Please bear in mind the costs of travel from East Suffolk, and also the time involved.
Air travel is an unavoidable activity because the global reach of WLT’s work means that staff are required to visit projects in order to monitor them. However, the scale of WLT’s impact in terms of emissions sequestered through habitat preservation far outweighs the emissions produced from carrying out its work. Furthermore, all WLT funds are spent on conservation so if we offset the flights we would have to take money earmarked for one conservation activity and transfer it to another. That seems self-defeating, so we do not do it.
World Land Trust is focused on practical action to conserve habitats on as large a scale as possible. It is not a campaigning organisation, but we do recognise many of our supporters do wish to be better informed or become involved in other conservation activities.
We are developing a page of useful links to direct supporters to suitable websites
Many of the most common questions that the Programmes team receive are answered here. However, if there are questions that remain unanswered please use our contact page to ask the team a question.
- Is climate change really happening?
- What is offsetting?
- What is Carbon Sequestration?
- Offsetting doesn’t address the issue of the emissions in the first place. Aren’t reductions of emissions at source the answer?
- What is Restoration Ecology?
- What is the difference between avoided deforestation, woodland rehabilitation, assisted natural regeneration and tree-planting?
- Is preserving mature habitat through avoided deforestation better in terms of carbon offsetting than planting new trees?
- Are WLT ecosystem services projects independently verified?
- Why do you not design projects to meet the well known WWF Gold Standard?
- How does WLT feel about the Defra Voluntary Code of Practice?
- Offsetting through WLT can be more expensive than other offset providers. Why?
- How do WLT make sure their offset calculations are accurate?
- Where do WLT projects take place?
- What is WLT’s position on tree planting in temperate climates for the provision of offsets?
- Do you own the land where the planting and restoration takes place?
- How do you protect this area of land / tropical forest from being destroyed?
- How many mature trees are saved per acre of land purchased through the WLT Carbon Balanced programme?
- How much of a tree’s stored carbon would be released by either felling or burning?
- How much carbon dioxide does an acre of rainforest absorb?
- How long would you expect a newly planted tree to contribute as a carbon sink?
- Surely Carbon Balanced projects just sell the same pieces of land over and over again?
- When WLT protects an area of land, what precautions are taken to ensure that the destructive activities are not just displaced elsewhere?
- Is the Carbon Balanced programme a money-making initiative by the World Land Trust?
- What makes Carbon Balanced different to all the other offset providers on the market?
- What is the WLT’s position regarding biofuels from monoculture plantations established at the expense of forest?
- Can I just make a straight donation to an Ecosystem Services project rather than calculate my exact offset?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has very high confidence (i.e. is more than 90% certain) that climate change is happening and that this is mostly due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. A few scientists are wary of assigning such a high degree of confidence and point to significant uncertainty in aspects of the evidence underpinning the IPCC assessment reports. A good place to read about some of this inherent uncertainty in the science can be found at the ClimateEtc web site, created by the climate scientist Professor Judith Curry. The widespread consensus among climate scientists, who believe that uncertainties do not undermine the need for urgent action, is reflected in the RealClimate website, maintained by NASA scientist Gavin Schmit. To find out more, see our climate change page.
The idea behind offsetting is that even when all steps have been taken by a given entity (say a firm, charity or individual) to reduce emissions at source, some residual greenhouse gas emissions are unavoidable. These emissions can be countered if one takes steps to avert emissions elsewhere – i.e. to offset them. The WLT Carbon Balanced programme produce these offsets through the protection of forests that are imminently threatened, the destruction of which would release greenhouse gases, and through the restoration of forest habitats, which sequester atmospheric carbon as they grow.
Carbon sequestration is the uptake and storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by carbon ‘sinks’. Approximately half the mass of a tree is carbon, making forests terrestrial carbon sinks. Forest vegetation absorb atmospheric CO2 and lock the carbon in their tissues while they are growing, retaining it in their biomass. Soil organic matter, derived from dead plant and animal material, is also an important store of carbon. A variable portion of this stocked carbon is, however, released if the forest vegetation is cut down and if soils are disturbed. Forest clearance is, in fact, responsible for 20% of the global carbon dioxide emissions, more than the combined global emissions of cars, boats and planes.
4. Offsetting doesn’t address the issue of the emissions in the first place! Aren’t reductions of emissions at source the answer?
We agree completely and the first step, both for individuals and businesses, should be to reduce emissions at source as much as possible. You can calculate and offset your emissions with our Carbon Calculator. However, though offsetting should not be used to escape reductions at source, it should be used alongside them as part of a complete and effective response to reducing CO2 concentrations.
Restoration Ecology is concerned with the rehabilitation of cleared and degraded habitat. WLT Ecosystem Services projects are specifically designed to benefit biodiversity and use a mixture of avoided deforestation, planting and assisted natural regeneration techniques to protect and re-establish critically endangered habitat. In practically all cases WLT restoration ecology projects are used to extend, buffer or connect existing reserves.
6. What is the difference between avoided deforestation, woodland rehabilitation, assisted natural regeneration and tree-planting?
Avoided deforestation is the protection of forest which is under the imminent threat of clearance. Through this protection the carbon dioxide emissions which would have been released to the atmosphere through combustion and decomposition are prevented. Woodland rehabilitation involves removing the factors – e.g. grazing cattle, fire, logging or woodcutting – that are degrading forest cover. Assisted natural regeneration takes place where the land has already been completely cleared, consisting of removing the constraints preventing re-establishment of natural vegetation. All this involves boosting self-sown trees – we now prefer to plant native trees only where assisted natural regeneration would not be successful or would benefit from enrichment – e.g. on eroded soils or where natural seed sources are distant.
7. Is preserving mature habitat through avoided deforestation better in terms of carbon offsetting than planting new trees?
Both avoided deforestation and planting techniques are equally important. The destruction of mature forest is responsible for 20% of the global carbon dioxide emissions, more than the cumulative global emissions of cars, boats and planes. It is better for biodiversity to preserve existing habitat rather than trying to recreate it, which is why the Carbon Balanced programme strongly promotes avoided deforestation as part of its projects. However, in some parts of the world, the land is so degraded that restoration through tree planting is critical. In practice we combine all the techniques needed to protect and restore a given parcel of forest – this obviously means restoring what has already been cleared through planting supplementing natural regeneration as well as protecting what forest still remains.
World Land Trust is committed to transparency in all elements of project design. All WLT carbon offsetting projects are designed according to the exacting principles of the internationally recognised Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standard. This standard is well-suited to our projects, being specifically devised for the voluntary market, and in particular, projects with wider-ranging biodiversity and local community objectives. Carbon Balanced projects address in full the principles behind the CCB guidance. However, we actively choose not to submit these smaller projects for independent certification due to the costs involved, and the limitations to our flexibility and innovation in project design that certification would bring. The larger Validated REDD+ projects are designed and submitted for validation under the CCB Standard. Methodologies for carbon sequestration approved under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) are used in the design of emissions offsetting elements of WLT carbon sequestration projects.
We cannot design projects to meet the WWF Gold Standard as this is not applicable to reforestation projects. The CCB standard is specifically designed to meet the type of work WLT carries out.
WLT agrees that the carbon offset market has suffered from a lack of clarity and quality in the provision of some offset projects. We too are in favour of protecting consumers and this is why we make every effort to ensure our Ecosystem Services projects are transparent. However, WLT feels that while the proposed code is expressed as being voluntary, its effects are likely to be comparable to a regulated market. Our main concerns are that set guidelines could stifle innovation and that meeting them would add transaction costs, disfavouring small-scale actions and organisations.
World Land Trust uses the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs approved conversion factors, however, other offset providers may use different figures in their offset calculations. This can affect the final offset figure and therefore the price. Our aim is to restore and protect critically threatened habitat through the provision of carbon dioxide offsets. The cost of delivering an offset through forestry-based work varies widely depending on its location, the land price, the scale and work involved, and the strictness of the monitoring regime. WLT’s Carbon Balanced Programme began in 2005 and since then we have revised the price of the work as new projects have been developed, keeping the costs as low as possible, while giving the best conservation value. The price of £15 per tonne of CO2 is not the cheapest on the market but does allow us to maximise the biodiversity conservation value across our project portfolio. Savings in scale mean prices can be cheaper for corporates seeking to cover 5000 tCO2 p.a. and above.
WLT uses Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs approved conversion factors, as a reliable and readily identifiable data source.
Our Carbon Balanced projects are predominantly based in Vietnam and Ecuador.
The scientific community is undecided as to whether tree planting in temperate climates should be used for the provision of carbon dioxide offsets. There is some debate as to whether the reduced snow cover caused by a forested area will reduce the Earth’s surface albedo (the extent to which the Earth’s surface reflects heat back out of the atmosphere) sufficiently to actually cause a net warming rather than cooling. Until this issue is resolved WLT will only plant trees in tropical climates for the provision of offsets.
No. The land is owned by a local partner organisation and is incorporated into an existing reserve to be managed for conservation purposes in perpetuity (in legal terms this means a minimum of a century). We have an agreement with the local partner organisation to this effect.
WLT ensures that long-term contracts are established for the ownership and management of all the land it acquires. WLT has been managing land acquisition projects since 1989 and are accustomed to working with governments and the private sector to ensure protection in perpetuity. Our local project partners oversee the management and protection of the land on the ground. The costs of this work are built into the offset price.
17. How many mature trees are saved per acre of land purchased through the WLT Carbon Balanced programme?
Drawing on an extensive data set WLT calculates that there are approximately 158 trees with a diameter of 10cm or more per acre of tropical forest purchased through the Carbon Balanced programme. A tree of such a diameter is likely to be reaching forest canopy height.
The greater part of the stored carbon in a forest is released by burning almost immediately after clearance and most of the remainder is released rather more slowly by decay. For practical purposes we assume 100% is actually released through the act of clearing though a small proportion does remain in the soil as inert charcoal.
Mature standing forests are close to equilibrium with regards carbon dioxide. Growing trees, however, do absorb carbon dioxide and store this within the woody biomass. Our carbon projects are based on a 20 year accounting period and the growth rate throughout the 20 years is not constant. In 2005 we carried out our own carbon stock inventory in Ecuador and our results suggest an acre of growing forest will absorb 75 tonnes of carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. An acre of the mature forest stores 109 tonnes of carbon dioxide on average.
WLT Ecosystem Services projects are based on a 20 year accounting period so that the offset can be achieved in a reasonable time frame. However, beyond this 20 year period the trees will continue to sequester carbon dioxide emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change advises that newly planted or regenerated forests will continue to uptake carbon for 20 to 50 years or more after establishment, depending on site location, tree species and major disturbance events. All WLT Ecosystem Services projects ensure protection of land in perpetuity, so once an offset/planting commitment has been fulfilled the forest will continue to survive after the end of the delivery of the ‘offset/planting horizon’.
No, the offsets arising from each piece of land are sold only once. WLT is a not-for-profit organisation that uses all money it raises for conservation projects, buying areas of critically endangered land around the world.
22. When WLT protects an area of land, what precautions are taken to ensure that the destructive activities are not just displaced elsewhere?
WLT has extensive experience in buying and managing endangered land and our partnerships with local NGO organisations means that we are able to enlist the help of the local indigenous community with the protection and management of the land. All our carbon stock calculations factor in a mandatory reduction for leakage. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggest a 30-40% reduction in the total carbon stock and WLT always apply a 40% reduction unless there is satisfactory evidence to the contrary.
WLT wish to raise funds to restore and protect critically threatened habitat through the provision of carbon dioxide offsets. WLT is a not-for-profit organisation and all money raised is used to protect and restore areas of critically endangered land. If any profit accumulates it will be ploughed back into the conservation fund and will be used to purchase more acres of threatened habitat.
WLT is a not-for-profit organisation. All money raised is used to fund restoration ecology projects which protect and restore areas of critically endangered habitats. WLT designs projects which will increase the biodiversity of an area as well as provide carbon dioxide offsets. The money you give us will be used for dual effect.
25. What is the WLT’s position regarding biofuels from monoculture plantations established at the expense of forest?
World Land Trust believes that any gain from increased use of biofuels produced by existing technology is negated by the deforestation needed to establish the plantations while exacerbating loss of biodiversity. It seems pointless to solve one problem by worsening another – the two concerns have to be taken together, which is why WLT projects aim to benefit biodiversity and conserve endangered habitat alongside carbon sequestration. This is also the underlying principle for the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard criteria, used by WLT to guide project design. This standard evaluates projects based on their combined contribution to climate mitigation, biodiversity and the local community and therefore only projects which will benefit both biodiversity and local communities will gain approval.
26. Can I just make a straight donation to a Carbon Balanced project rather than calculate my exact offset?
Yes. You can visit our fixed offsets page which provides fixed offset amounts for an individual, couple or family. These offsets are based on Defra’s national average emissions which take into account home, appliance and travel energy use.
Business specific FAQs
A carbon audit helps an organisation establish how much energy they are consuming, and therefore the carbon dioxide emissions they are responsible for. For the vast majority of businesses an assessment can be conducted simply by filling in your details in WLT’s Carbon Calculator, which aims to quantify how much electricity, gas and other fuels have been used and the distances travelled for business purposes by different types of transport. The most appropriate person to fill out this form will have access to utility bills as well as records of distances travelled by different forms of transport for business purposes. It is important to be as accurate as possible when filling out this form. Following the carbon audit a business should try to reduce its emissions as much as possible. Once energy reductions have been achieved the carbon audit should be re-calculated and the unavoidable emissions offset.
A standard carbon audit is free and will be overseen by the World Land Trust. The only investment that a business needs to make is in terms of time. It is important to be as accurate as possible when filling out the audit form and it is best to refer to utility bills, gas and electricity meters, details on other processes which contribute to carbon emissions (eg: printing), plus any transport or fleet operations. However, if the online audit is not suitable we can offer a bespoke carbon audit service, also free of charge.
Yes, calculating the carbon dioxide emissions associated with your business can highlight areas of the organisation where energy reductions can take place. The Carbon Reduction Programme (CRed) which is based in the top-rated School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA) offers a simple, six-step Business Standard audit designed to help businesses act to reduce energy use and carbon emissions. By improving energy efficiency a business is likely to see a reduction in energy use costs.
4. My company is looking for someone to come and do a survey of our office to see how we can make it more energy efficient. Is this something you’d be able to do?
WLT does not offer the sort of service you require. We always encourage organisations to reduce emissions at source first, before they offset, and for energy reduction advice we recommend the Carbon Reduction Programme (CRed). WLT have strong links with CRed which is associated with the University of East Anglia. It offers advice and help to both individuals and businesses on energy efficiency.
The audit form completion will require some investment of time, but WLT tries to make the process of Carbon Balancing as straightforward as possible. Whilst we will need certain information about your business, these details should be relatively easy to find for someone who deals with the day to day management of the company.
Organisations should visit our Carbon Calculator and submit the audit form to WLT online. The information required to fill out this form is based on the energy use of the organisation. For this reason, the most appropriate person to fill out this form will have access to utility bills as well as records of distances travelled by different forms of transport for business purposes. It is important to be as accurate as possible when filling out this form. WLT calculate the offset required and issue an audit report which details the offset size and cost. However, if the online audit is not suitable for your needs we can offer a bespoke carbon audit service.
The next step should be to reduce emissions at source as much as possible. Only once reduction has been achieved should offsetting be considered. Offsetting alone will not solve the global climate challenge but it can play an important role if used as part of a complete mitigation approach.
The carbon balanced audit is a free of charge service and can save an organisation money in the long run, by identifying areas where energy consumption can be reduced and efficiencies improved. WLT offsets restore and protect critically threatened habitat through the provision of carbon dioxide offsets. The cost of delivering an offset through forestry-based work varies widely depending on its location, the land price, the scale and work involved, and the strictness of the monitoring regime. WLT’s Carbon Balanced Programme began in 2005 and since then we have revised the price of the work as new projects have been developed, keeping the costs as low as possible, while giving the best conservation value. The price of £15 per tonne of CO2 enables us to assure the offset carbon and maximise the forest conservation value.
Unfortunately not. In response to increasing use of the term “carbon neutral” by businesses and other organisations, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recently released a code of guidance on “carbon neutrality”. According to this document:
“Carbon neutral means that – through a transparent process of calculating emissions, reducing those emissions and offsetting residual emissions – net carbon emissions equal zero”
This three-step process is entirely consistent with the approach WLT has long been advocating. However, at the present time, this Government guidance only recognises carbon offsets from projects that have been fully certified and their offsets logged with an approved registry.While Carbon Balanced projects are designed to meet the demanding principles of the internationally recognised CCB standard, they have not been submitted for validation. As a result, the WLT asks organisation to refrain from making claims of carbon neutrality in association with Carbon Balanced offsets.
10. Your website mentions that you carry out due diligence on an organisation wishing to offset. What does this mean?
As a charity WLT’s most valuable assets are its reputation and the loyalty of its supporters. WLT are very careful not to participate in any activity which might jeopardise these. When an organisation submits emissions data for a Carbon Balanced audit we carry out checks to make sure the company is one we would be happy to be associated with.
WLT issue an acknowledge letter and Carbon Balanced certificate once payment for the offset has been received. WLT newsletters are sent twice a year and employees can sign up for the WLT ebulletins. Organisations are allowed to use the Carbon Balanced logo on their website and in marketing materials and, at the company’s discretion, its details will be added to the Corporate Supporter section of our website. An annual Carbon Balanced activity report will be issued to each Carbon Balanced company at the beginning of each year.
We prefer to have flexibility in placing the Carbon Balanced funds so that we can direct the money according to the current priority project. However, after the allocation of funds has been made we can tell donors which project their money has gone towards.
Greenwash is a term that is widely used to describe a company or organisation whose marketing and PR suggests it follows positive environmental practices when it is really conducting business as usual.
Does World Land Trust have places available in events like the London Marathon?
Charity places in the London Marathon are very hard to obtain and if you would like to run for us, you will have to enter through the general ballot.
How should I collect money?
It really helps us if you can use our online fundraising facilities, but if you’d like a paper sponsorship form please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We do ask our fundraisers not to collect funds through their own websites and third party bank/PayPal accounts.
Can you supply collection boxes?
Yes, we can supply collection boxes to individual fundraisers and corporate supporters. You will need to confirm in writing that you agree to our collection box policy, and in particular that
- The box will not be used for street or door-to-door fundraising.
- It will be kept secure.
- Funds will be passed to WLT quarterly (long-term fundraising) or promptly after the event (one-off events).
- Individuals requesting a box are aged 16 or over.
If you would like a box please contact us
When should I pass my funds to WLT?
By law, you must pass funds raised for World Land Trust to us within the timeframe we request, and we ask to receive funds within 6 weeks. If you have raised money using an online fundraising site, this is passed to us automatically.
Is my fundraising legal?
Please do contact WLT when you’re at the planning stage of your fundraising, as we will be able to advise you if there may be any problems. Here are some things to bear in mind:
- Collecting money door-to-door is illegal unless you have a licence, and we ask our supporters not to raise funds for us in this way. You also need a licence and permission from your local authority if you are planning to sell goods or collect money in a public place.
- If you are preparing food and drink for public consumption as part of an event, you are responsible under the Food Safety Act (1990) for making sure that everything supplied is deemed fit and safe. This covers food and drink sold or raffled for charity and supplied free to the public.
- Holding a raffle is fine if it’s part of a bigger event and there are no cash prizes, but other raffles may be unlawful.
Why does the WLT not pay the Fundraising Regulator’s Levy?
World Land Trust follows the highest standards of fundraising practice, as set out in the codes of the Institute of Fundraising. The Fundraising Regulator’s levy payment is voluntary and WLT does not currently believe it is the best use of our donors funds.
We do not run direct mail campaigns, appeals or door to door collections and we never share or sell personal data. Our only major mailing is the WLT Newsletter and these are only sent out to existing supporters or when requested. Similarly, the only response donors will get from us is a thank you letter and information about the projects they have supported. We do not employ third party companies to follow up with requests for more or act on our behalf.
Where can I find further guidance?
There’s lots of information on many aspects of fundraising for charity on the Institute of Fundraising’s website for fundraisers: www.how2fundraise.org.
If you have any other questions, we will do our best to answer them. Please contact us »