An endangered Red-shanked Douc (Pygathrix nemaeus) photographed in the World Land Trust “Khe Nuoc Trong” protected area of Vietnam.  Credit: Bjornolesen.com/Viet Nature Conservation Centre.

World Land Trust is one of the most successful environmental organizations in the world, protecting vulnerable areas of land from deforestation and destruction.

As a global non-profit that safeguards the world’s most threatened habitats and wildlife species, the success of World Land Trust (WLT) lies in the amount of land it protects, and in 2023, over 177,200 acres (71,710 hectares) were protected from deforestation and development. This brings the total amount of land saved since the charity’s foundation over 30 years ago to over 2.8 million acres – that’s equivalent to the size of Jamaica.

WLT form partnerships with local environmental groups and NGOs, giving them the financial and technical assistance to protect and manage the protected areas. WLT understands the value of people who know the area and the importance it has in the lives of the communities that live there.

“In a nutshell, World Land Trust has a very simple premise,” said Emma Douglas, Director of Development at WLT. “And that’s to save land so that we can save everything that depends on it. That includes the incredible biodiversity, the communities that rely on these landscapes for livelihoods and sustenance, and the climate by locking in the carbon from these vast forests.”

A global biodiversity champion

Currently, WLT has 60 projects in 27 countries around the world, from the forests of Mount Moco in Angola to the Greater Kasanka Landscape of Zambia, each one following the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard. This standard states that a project must conform to a series of principles, including being effective, equitable, ethical, adaptive, and permanent.

The result of WLT’s work is not only the amount of carbon taken out of the atmosphere by the forests, but the preservation of threatened plant and animal species that depend on these habitats to thrive.  For example, the carbon balanced paper-funded project in the Khe Nouc Trong region of Vietnam is estimated to save over one million metric tons of CO2e over 20 years, as well as protect the endangered Red Shanked Douc monkey and other threatened species. Meanwhile, the protection of forests in the Xilitla area of Mexico provides a carbon benefit of almost 70,000 metric tons of CO2e over five years and protect 552 species of plants and animals.

“When I ask people why they support WLT, I usually get the same answer: because WLT gets things done,” said Myles Archibald, Chair of WLT Trustees. “People’s love of the natural world has never been greater, and they want to support conservation that has a direct impact.”

The future of land protection

World Land Trust’s current five-year strategy aims to protect a further 2.4 million acres of land around the world and connect over 4.9 million acres of habitat through the provision of wildlife corridors that allow wildlife to move safely between areas of protected land.  Through their work, WLT aims to avoid the emission of over 50 million metric tons of CO2e by 2025.

“Our goal is to do as much in five years as we have done in our entire history,” said Emma Douglas. “The protection of land is the best mitigation we have against climate change, and at World Land Trust we have a proven method that works. We want to protect larger, more connected and climate-resilient landscapes that contribute to both local and international biodiversity goals.”

For more information on World Land Trust, go to www.worldlandtrust.org

For more information on Carbon Balanced Paper, go to www.carbonbalancedpaperna.com

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