FAQ - Frequently Answered Questions
What is Land Trust?
Across the United States, local citizens and communities have joined to save the places they cherish by establishing land trusts. These nonprofit, community-based conservation organizations acquire and protect land for the public good. Land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and long-term caretakers of their critical land resources. The nation's 1,700 + land trusts work with communities to acquire and manage land for permanent conservation and then steward the land for public benefit. Land trusts have been extraordinarily successful, having protected more than 37 million acres of land, according to the National Land Trust Census.
Does the Land Trust own the protected lands?
The Land Trust uses two main mechanisms for conservation of land – conservation easements and ownership. Conservation easements are legally binding agreements that limit certain activities to protect the conservation values of the protected area, and are tied to the deed in perpetuity. The land owner still controls the lands under the easement; however agreements can be made to allow the easement holder or another party to participate in the management of these lands. Ownership by the Land Trust allows for more complete control of the stewardship and management of the protected lands. This option also requires more cost on the part of the Land Trust as management and restoration can become very expensive depending on the conditions of the land. Molokai Land Trust owns two preserves on Molokai, Mokio (1,719 acres) and Kawaikapu (196 acres), and is able to utilize private, State, and Federal funds to carry out restoration activities that benefit the land and community that would not always happen with a simple conservation easement. The responsibilities of land ownership far outweigh those of a conservation easement holder; however the benefits of holding the land allow the Land Trust to potentially do so much more to care for these protected lands, and make them available to the greater community.
What’s the difference between MLT, The Nature Conservancy, and Trust for Public Land?
All are nonprofit land conservation organizations. We work collaboratively on many projects, however we all
have different mission foci. The Nature Conservancy focuses on native ecosystem protection and management,
while the Trust for Public Land generally works as a bridge organization to help obtain lands that are then
transferred to either a public agency or another nonprofit organization for management or accessibility in the
public interest. Land trusts have a wider range of protection interests, including cultural and agricultural lands,
coastal lands for shoreline protection and public access, view-sheds, etc.
Is MLT a State Agency?
No. Land Trusts are 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits. However, we work closely in partnerships with federal, state
and local agencies, as well as private landowners and other nonprofits.
Where does MLT get its funding?
We rely on a diverse funding plan that includes private donations, foundation and agency grants, fundraising events, and fee-for service. Our long term goal is to increase individual donor funding to 70% of annual operating costs.
How does MLT choose projects?
Project selection criteria that meet IRS requirements and conform to National Land Trust Alliance standards and practices are utilized during the evaluation of all potential projects. In some instances, landowners will approach the organization with an interest in placing their lands under protection; however we also proactively seek out lands of particularly important conservation values and approach the landowners with protection options. The input of local advisory groups is particularly important in selecting projects.
Can donors restrict their donations to a particular project?
Yes. Generally, funds raised will be applied to operations on an island wide, as-needed basis, but specific funding, whether for acquisition or on-the-ground management activities, may be restricted to a particular project.
Will stewardship be part of the MLT mission?
Yes. On lands owned in fee by the land trust, stewardship will include active restoration and management of the conservation values being protected. In the case of a consevation easement, stewardship will involve monitoring of landowner activities to ensure the lands are being managed in accordance with the easement's terms.