Since 2005, 10 million new acres of land have been voluntarily conserved as parks, farms, gardens, forests, and more, according to a new report by the Land Trust Alliance. The fact that the amount of land saved from development increased 27% between 2005 and 2010—despite a struggling economy—shows that “even when times are tough, people want to take care of the places they see every day,” says the group’s president.
About 37 million acres had been conserved in 2005, increasing to 47 million by 2010, USA Today reports. Land trusts are doing well, increasing endowment funding and drawing more volunteers, and open-space initiatives have been succeeding. Other factors in the increase include declining real estate prices, which have allowed land trusts to buy more acreage, and increased tax incentives for taxpayers selling development rights to their land. (Read more conservation stories.)