Calusa Land Trust and
Nature Preserve of Pine Island

What We Do

What is a land trust?

The following information is provided by the Land Trust Alliance (LTA)

The Calusa Land Trust is a subscriber to LTA's Standards and Practices.


Land Trusts are nonprofit, voluntary organizations that work hand-in-hand with landowners, land trusts use a variety of tools, such as conservation easements that permanently restrict the uses of the land, land donations and purchases and strategic estate planning, to protect America’s open spaces and green places, increasingly threatened by sprawl and development. Local, regional and national lands trusts, often staffed by volunteers or just a few employees, are helping communities save America’s land heritage without relying exclusively on the deep pockets of government.

How can individuals work with land trusts to protect their land?

Land trusts are experts at helping landowners find ways to protect their land in the face of ever-growing development pressure. They may protect land through donation and purchase, by working with landowners who wish to donate or sell conservation easements (permanent deed restrictions that prevent harmful land use), or by devising other plans for preserving open space.

What kind of land do they protect?

Land trusts protect open space of all kinds - wetlands, wildlife habitat, ranches, shorelines, forests, scenic views, farms, watersheds, historic estates, and recreational areas - land of every size and type that has conservation, historic, scenic, or other value as open space.

When did land trusts start?

The first land trust was founded more than 100 years ago in New England, the region that still boasts more than a third of the nation’s land trusts. The first American conservation easement, which permanently limits development of land, was written in the late 1880s to protect parkways in and around Boston and designed by the renowned landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmstead, Sr. Conservation easements, now the most popular means to protect land, came into widespread use after the Tax Reform Act of 1976 explicitly recognized them as tax deductible donations.

How many land trusts are there?

There are currently more than 1,200 land trusts in America, 63 percent more than in 1988.

Are land trusts successful?

Absolutely. Local and regional land trusts have protected approximately 4.7 million acres of wetlands, wildlife habitat, ranches and farms, shorelines, forests, recreation land and other property of ecological significance. Indeed, the number of local land trusts has grown phenomenally, from 743 in 1985 to more than 1,200 today. Land trusts operate in every state as well as in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

For further information click:  Land Trust Alliance