President Biden’s executive order committing to the conservation of 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 is an ambitious call to action for the land conservation community. We have an important role to play, so we must rise to the challenge. The executive order recognizes the importance of voluntary private conservation in achieving 30x30. It commits the federal government to respect private property rights and work in collaboration with non-governmental stakeholders and landowners.
“President Biden’s executive order calling for conservation of at least 30 percent of the U.S. land base by 2030 is one the Land Trust Alliance applauds. This is an audacious and timely conservation challenge that requires the conservation of millions of acres of land in private ownership. The nation’s land trusts are ready and willing to help private landowners conserve their lands at this ambitious scale. With a new sense of urgency, the land trust community will do its part together with farmers, ranchers, foresters, fishermen, tribes, states and local officials across the country to help make the 30x30 goal a reality.”
Read more from Andrew Bowman in this transcript of his remarks from Rally 2019, the Alliance’s annual National Land Conservation Conference.
The ambitious 30x30 goal, embraced by the president and scientific community, offers our nation’s best — and perhaps only — hope to secure critical public benefits provided by natural and working lands. Yet, there is neither the political will nor funding for the federal purchase of the 400 million acres required to reach the goal. In contrast, voluntary private land conservation enjoys broad, bipartisan support and is an essential strategy for realizing the goal.
Land trusts are our country’s primary drivers of private land conservation. Based in communities across the country, they are uniquely qualified to respond to local needs, conserving lands that provide clean air and water, natural climate solutions, sustainable food and fiber, biodiversity preservation, as well as equitable access to open spaces for respite, recreation and sustenance.
Currently, the nation’s land trusts are conserving approximately 1 million acres a year. With additional advocacy, marketing, community engagement and capacity-building offerings from the Land Trust Alliance, we are confident our land trust members can conserve at least 10 million acres a year by the end of this decade and do so in an equitable and inclusive way.
The Land Trust Alliance is committed to catalyzing private land conservation by ensuring land trusts have the necessary vision, tools, capacity and resources. In support of our land trust members and the 30x30 goal, we are prepared to work to secure billions of dollars in federal funding and charitable donations, mobilize a new powerbase for conservation, ensure conserved lands serve all people, and expand our Leadership and Excellence programs to transform the capacity and performance of the land trust community.Learn more about our commitment
Nonprofits and businesses across the country are supporting this executive order. Find the statements of our peers at the links below:
America the Beautiful Initiative
In May 2021, the Biden administration launched America the Beautiful, a 30x30 challenge for the nation. This initiative emphasizes a locally led and voluntary effort to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters this decade. An initial report outlined guiding principles and focus areas of the initiative and a progress report in December 2021 highlighted early successes. Additionally, the administration has called for the creation of an American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas to help track progress toward 30x30. The administration has sought extensive feedback from relevant stakeholders on the best ways to measure and achieve this goal and the Alliance will continue to engage to ensure that the land trust community is recognized as leaders in private voluntary conservation.Learn more about the America the Beautiful Initiative