Land Conservation, Parks and Planning

Land Conservation, Parks, and Planning Explained


Protecting land is more than just preserving picturesque landscapes. Plants, animals, and humans depend on the systems nature provides—nutrient cycling, water purification, and pollination, among many others—to survive. Rapid development of the habitats that support such systems makes conservation an imperative. The WILD Foundation has proposed that we need to protect at least half of a given eco-region in order to ensure the long-term survival of the planet’s biodiversity. With a growing human population using more of the planet’s resources and climate change affecting habitats around the world, land conservation has never been more important.


Why Conservation Matters

Deforestation has claimed almost 20% of the massive Amazon rainforest, taking with it countless yet-to-be-discovered plant and animal species. Globally, deforestation results in the elimination of an area of forest the size of England each year. Forests, often called the “lungs of the earth”, provide invaluable clean air and water, medicine, food, climate regulation, and recreation. Invasive species, poor forest management, and increased danger from wildfires puts forests at risk of greater loss.

Some of the most important ecosystems in the world are in danger now. For example, oil and other mineral development activities imperil the Arctic, a place home to many of the world’s most threatened species. The Galapagos Islands host many species found nowhere else on earth, but invasive species, overuse of natural resources, and detrimental human impacts have put the island’s future in peril. Important plants and animals can’t be protected unless we also protect the habitats where they live.

American agricultural land is rapidly disappearing to development—at the rate of one acre per minute! When these lands are turned into things like housing and roads, they can no longer serve as farmland to protect our food security, water quality, and the local environment.

Estuaries, coastal water bodies made up of freshwater and saltwater, serve as buffer zones for dangerous storms and habitats for diverse species. Like other ecosystems, human development and pollution threaten their continued survival.

Recognizing the social value of open spaces, land conservationists also protect historic sites and parks big and small. Green spaces in cities have been proven to encourage healthy social interaction and pedestrian activity while cutting down on sedentary illnesses and crime. National parks offer hiking, camping, and sightseeing, but insufficient funding puts these treasured places at risk.


EarthShare Member Organizations Working
on Land Conservation, Parks, and Planning
  • Alaska Conservation Foundation
  • Amazon Conservation Team
  • American Forests
  • American Farmland Trust
  • Arbor Day Foundation
  • City Parks Alliance
  • Conservation International
  • Conservation Fund
  • Earthjustice
  • EcoLogic Development Fund
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
  • Forest Stewardship Council
  • Forest Trends
  • Galapagos Conservancy
  • Izaak Walton League of America
  • Keep America Beautiful
  • Land Trust Alliance
  • Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
  • LightHawk
  • National Forest Foundation
  • National Parks Conservation Association
  • NatureServe
  • Nature Conservancy
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
  • Restore America's Estuaries
  • Scenic America
  • Sierra Club Foundation
  • Trust for Public Land
  • WILD Foundation
  • Wilderness Society
  • Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative


What You Can Do


Each of us can help preserve lands for future generations and for the health of the planet. EarthShare is committed to supporting our member organizations’ essential work on land conservation. Your support of these organizations can help save parks, habitats, and ecosystems around the country and the world.

Get involved by:


  * EarthShare member organization