About the Northeast
About the Region
The seven Northeast states of New England and New York are the birthplace of land conservation in this country. Home to 35% of the country’s nearly 1,700 land trusts, the Northeast represents great tradition and accomplishment among land trusts of all sizes in the region. By 2005 national, local, and state conservation groups saved 8.47 million acres in the Northeast, 12.13% of the area’s total land mass.
Southern New England is dominated by small, single-town land trusts while most of Northern New England and New York contains regional land trusts working in one or more counties or watersheds, with both Vermont and Maine having large statewide land conservation organizations having a significant impact.
- Heavy development pressures and sprawl
- impacts from climate change
- rising land prices
- inconsistent political support
- few large tracts remaining
- the fear of legal challenges to permanently conserved land
All of these challenges are threatening the pace at which meaningful conservation can be accomplished. With many small, all-volunteer land trusts throughout the region, such obstacles can seem daunting.
Heightened public awareness of the need for conservation is enabling significant advances in conservation under these challenging circumstances. Renewed interest in farmland protection catalyzed by “Eat Local” initiatives and community supported agriculture, an increased understanding of the value and civic role of urban green spaces and community gardens, growing interest and commitment in “smart growth” at state and local levels and a recognition that conserved land can potentially mitigate climate change is making land conservation a priority in many communities.