Gaining Ground



Acres Protected

That’s about 216,690 football fields!

Land trusts have already conserved 61 million acres of private land across the nation — more than all of the national parks combined. Help us conserve another 60 million acres by the end of the decade.

Together, let’s keep Gaining Ground.


Every land trust is as unique as the community it serves.

Iowa land trusts are community-led and supported and protect lands and waters that help the entire state.

Active Land Trusts


A land trust is a nonprofit that conserves land by acquiring and stewarding land or conservation easements.

Learn more about land trusts
Alliance Member Land Trusts


Land Trust Alliance members commit to adopting Land Trust Standards and Practices as their guiding principles.

Learn about the land trust alliance
Accredited Land Trusts


Accredited land trusts undergo a thorough review of their practices in governance, finance, transactions and stewardship.

Learn about land trust accreditation


  • 7,437

  • 359

  • 33

  • 5

  • 67

Land Trust Longevity

  • 46 years old (1978)

  • 9 years old (2015)

  • 27 years old

Percent of Land Trusts Who Increased Focus on Climate Change in the Last Five Years


Percent of Land Trusts Receiving Funding to Address Climate Change


Land Protected

There has been a 91% increase in Iowa land protected by land trusts since 2010.

Acre by acre, land trusts are helping to conserve Iowa lands, waters and ways of life.

Total acres protected
Under easement
Acquired and reconveyed
Protected by other means

Disclaimer: Land trusts conserve land in many different ways and every project is unique. Category totals may change depending on how acres are reported by survey respondents to reflect the most current data and minimize double-counting. In some instances, the total may be greater than the sum of the separate categories due to organizations that provided total acres not broken down by category.

Percent of Land Owned and Under Easement Held by an Accredited Land Trust


Source: 2020 National Land Trust Census

Total Public Funding for Conservation From 1998-2017

$317 million

Source: Trust for Public Land's Conservation Almanac

Acres of Land Lost to Development From 2012-2017


Source: NRCS - Natural Resources Inventory

This information reflects data collected in the National Land Trust Census, the longest-running comprehensive survey of private land conservation in America. Learn more about the Census and see which land trusts participated in the 2020 National Land Trust Census.

Making a Difference

Iowa land trusts are gaining ground.

Land trusts across the state are helping find solutions to some of Iowa's most pressing issues.

  • Addressing community needs: When a massive derecho storm hit central Iowa without warning, the destruction was widespread. The intense windstorm brought up to 130-mile-per-hour gusts, equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane or 40-mile-wide tornado. As soon as the winds quieted, the accredited Bur Oak Land Trust in Iowa City went to work, using their skill, equipment, determination and hundreds of hours of time to help Iowans across the state.

    Read more
  • Providing access to land for all: The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation created and manages the High Trestle Trail, which runs for 25 miles through five towns and four counties. The trail includes an iconic, 1/2-mile, 13-story high bridge across the Des Moines River valley, one of the largest trail bridges in the world.

    Read more
  • Protecting family farms: Ten Iowa cities with 10 permanent food farms in 10 years. That’s the ambitious goal of Circle Our Cities, a campaign by the accredited Sustainable Iowa Land Trust. The mission is to permanently protect land to grow fresh produce close to urban areas, which can play an important role in the fight against food insecurity.

    Read more

Land Trusts Working in Iowa

Land Trust Alliance member land trusts, listed below, commit to adopting Land Trust Standards and Practices as their guiding principles.