Press Release

New England Forestry Foundation Earns Land Trust Accreditation

Feb. 22, 2024

Recognized as America’s 6th-Largest Land Trust

Earning significant national recognition for its work to conserve natural places and working forestlands, the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) has been awarded land trust accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance (LTA). With 1.21 million acres permanently conserved, NEFF is the United States’ 6th-largest accredited land trust.

“Earning Land Trust Accreditation is a major victory for NEFF, our staff, our supporters, and our partners across New England,” said NEFF Executive Director Bob Perschel. “We look forward to continuing to steward and grow our conserved lands while advancing our application of climate-smart forestry management principles.”

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. The accreditation process affirms that NEFF upholds the highest standards in sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and an unwavering commitment to its mission of conserving forestland and advancing Exemplary Forestry. Accreditation will be celebrated at the Land Trust Alliance’s Rally 2024 coming up this September in Providence, RI.

NEFF has conserved more than 1.2 million acres of forest since its founding in 1944. NEFF has long worked directly with family landowners to help them permanently protect their land, and also pursues select projects to conserve large parcels of unfragmented forests. Among the forests NEFF has conserved are Pingree Forest Partnership (conserved 762,000 acres via easement) and Downeast Lakes Forestry Project (conserved 335,000 acres via easement), both in Maine.

“New England Forestry Foundation has made an extraordinary commitment to excellence, trust, and permanence in land conservation,” reads NEFF’s commendation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. “The Commission especially recognizes NEFF for its successful initiative to convene, plan, and anchor the New England Climate-Smart Commodities Partnership, for the quality of its supplemental baseline documentation reports, and for its publication Into the Woods.”

According to the results from the Land Trust Alliance’s 2020 National Land Trust Census, over 20 million acres—approximately 10 times the size of Yellowstone National Park—are conserved and protected by accredited land trusts. NEFF staff asked LTA for the largest land trusts by acres conserved, and then accounted for the progress each has made since 2020 to produce this list of America’s current largest accredited land trusts.

  1. The Nature Conservancy – 125 million acres
  2. The Conservation Fund – 8.8 million acres
  3. Trust for Public Land – 3.9 million acres
  4. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – 1.5 million acres
  5. Montana Land Reliance – 1.29 million acres
  6. New England Forestry Foundation – 1.21 million acres
  7. Forest Society of Maine – 959,000 acres
  8. Vermont Land Trust – 824,100+ acres
  9. Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust – 765,000+ acres
  10. Colorado Open Lands – 677,607 acres

Celebrating its 80th birthday in July 2024, NEFF has scaled up its programs in recent years: Last month, NEFF and partners launched the Exemplary Forestry Investment Fund, aiming to eventually own 100,000 acres of Maine forest by raising approximately $90 million and manage them using the climate-smart Exemplary Forestry approach developed by NEFF to improve carbon storage, long-term forest health, wildlife habitat, and sustainable timber value and production in partnership with local communities. NEFF and partners have been awarded a $30 million USDA Climate-Smart Commodities award to increase carbon storage in New England’s forests.

About New England Forestry Foundation

Through the application of its core expertise in conserving forestland and advancing Exemplary Forestry, New England Forestry Foundation helps the people of New England to sustain their way of life, protect forest wildlife habitat and ecosystem services, and mitigate and adapt to climate change. In partnership with land owners, New England Forestry Foundation has conserved more than 1.2 million acres of forest since its founding in 1944. It also owns and manages more than 150 Community Forests across the region.