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Adoption Requirements

The Land Trust Alliance requires that all member land trusts adopt Land Trust Standards and Practices as the guiding principles for their operations.  The Alliance also encourages all land trusts to implement them at a pace appropriate for their organization. There is a clear distinction between “adoption” and “implementation”

“Adoption” using the resolution included in Land Trust Standards and Practices, indicates that the organization:

  • Has reviewed Land Trust Standards and Practices;
  • Agrees that Land Trust Standards and Practices are the ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust; and,
  • Adopts Land Trust Standards and Practices as guidelines for the organization and commits to making continual progress toward implementation of these standards and practices.


When a land trust “adopts” Land Trust Standards and Practices it joins more than 1,000 organizations across the country in indicating its philosophical support for the widely accepted code that guides the land trust community.  The land trust also recognizes its role in upholding the public trust and the credibility of the land trust community.

In addition, by adopting Land Trust Standards and Practices, the land trust makes a commitment to use the standards and practices to guide its organization, that is, to use them as a touchstone in developing or refining program and policies.

Lastly, adoption signifies that the land trust is continually learning, refining its programs in an effort to implement the standards and practices, and striving for excellence.

Adoption does not signify that a land trust is fully implementing the specific details of every practice.  When it comes to implementation, land trusts use a wide range of methods to put the practices into operation.   If a land trust has adopted Land Trust Standards and Practices, however, it indicates that its implementation efforts are consistent with the spirit and intent of the practices.


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