A Commitment to Excellence

The land trust community is committed to excellence in our work and to upholding the public’s confidence in land conservation.

Together, land trusts have established a set of guidelines for how to run a land trust responsibly: Land Trust Standards and Practices (the Standards). These guidelines describe how to operate a land trust legally, ethically and in the public interest, with a sound program of land transactions and land stewardship.

All Land Trust Alliance member land trusts must adopt the Standards as their guiding principles. Affiliates must also affirm that they adhere to the highest ethical standards as reflected in Land Trust Standards and Practices.

Land trusts developed the first Standards in 1989 and revised them most recently in 2016-2017. Hundreds of conservation leaders contributed to the 2017 revisions, so these guidelines represent the experience of diverse land trusts from across the country. More than 1,000 land trusts have adopted the Standards.

Twelve Guiding Principles

The Standards are a set of 12 broad principles. These standards are broken down into 59 practices and 188 practice elements, which describe the essential actions needed to fulfill the Standards.

Resources for Land Trust Standards and Practices