Land trusts are the primary component to private conservation, one of the three main sectors of environmental conservation in Canada. Also known as conservancies, land trusts operate as non-profit, charitable organizations who manage and protect private land through donations, acquisitions or conservation agreements (covenants and easements). In recent years they have become the fastest growing tool for biodiversity conservation on privately owned land (Kalynka, 2020) yet their existence and impact is scarcely recognized throughout the public. The individual mandates of each trust is specific to the requirements of the environment it protects, but the general ethos of all land trusts is to protect important natural areas or wildlife habitats with a mission to manage and steward the land in perpetuity. Land Trusts aim to protect land for generations to come.


of Land Trusts have secured endowment funds

regional and community Land Trusts across Canada

Total number of volunteers board members and staff


The first land trust in Canada was established in Hamilton Ontario in 1919 as the Hamilton Naturalist Club. Since then, land trusts began slowly popping up around Canada and in the 1990s they started coming together to form alliances. These larger organizational bodies amplify the strength and resources of their member land trusts under a unified voice. By 1997, three alliances were established in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec respectively, all of whom continue to this day. The Land Trust Alliance of BC (LTABC) currently assembles thirty-five land trusts and together is the voice for more than 1,000,000 acres of protected land. Likewise, the Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) currently protects more than 100,000 acres and the Réseau de Milieux Naturels Protégés (RMN) in Quebec, representing nearly 40 land trust, 160,000 acres.

Learn more about the alliances here.