The first census of land trusts in five years found 10 million acres newly conserved nationwide since 2005, including 502,243 acres in Pennsylvania.
The National Land Trust Census, released by the Land Trust Alliance, shows that voluntarily protected land increased 27 percent between 2005 and 2010. In the same time period, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, a major federal conservation program, added just over 500,000 acres and saw a 38 percent funding cut. The census is online at www.lta.org/census.
A total of 47 million acres are now protected by land trusts. A greater percentage of the newly protected acreage comes through local and state land trusts like the Brandywine Conservancy. In Pennsylvania, land trusts conserved more than half a million acres between 2005 and 2010, an 18 percent increase in land protected.
“Pennsylvania residents have been very generous by voluntarily donating conservation easements to permanently protect their property,” said Sherri Evans-Stanton, director of the Brandywine Conservancy’s Environmental Management Center. “Here in Pennsylvania, easement donors have worked with local and regional land trusts to invest in our communities to ensure clean water, local food supplies and places to recreate for generations to come.”
Between 2005 and 2010, the Brandywine Conservancy permanently protected 3,228 acres of natural, historic and agricultural resources, and assisted in the preservation of an additional 6,047 acres of farmland. During this period, a key significant accomplishment was the preservation of 100 acres in the heart of the Brandywine Battlefield National Historic Landmark. The Brandywine Conservancy has directly and indirectly protected more than 51,000 acres since its founding in 1967.
The Brandywine Conservancy holds more than 400 conservation easements and has permanently protected thousands of acres in Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania, as well as New Castle County in Delaware.
The Environmental Management Center provides conservation services to landowners, farmers, municipalities and developers. The staff of professional planners and natural resource managers offers technical assistance and expertise for conservation and comprehensive land use planning.