About Rainforest Trust

Frequently Asked Questions

Supporting Rainforest Trust- why and how?

Why Save Acres with Rainforest Trust?
How is Rainforest Trust different to the other organizations buying rainforest?
How can I get my friends to raise funds for Rainforest Trust?

Buying an acre- what does it entail?

When I buy an acre of rainforest or other habitat, what does that mean?
How will I know where ‘my’ acre is located and can I visit it?

Finances- where does the money go?

How is $100 per acre figure arrived at?
Why are not all projects $100 an acre?
How do I know where my donation goes?

Land purchase- why and how?

Why does Rainforest Trust buy land- isn’t it best to work with local people?
What happens to the land after it has been bought?
How can you ensure that the land is adequately protected and not used and/or destroyed by people after it has been purchased?

How does Rainforest Trust operate? Who do you work with?

How do you decide where to buy land?
Do you work with other organizations?
Should this be the responsibility of Governments? Why is it left to individuals?
How come your office is in Warrenton, if you are an international organization? Why aren’t you based in Washington DC?

If you can’t find the answer you were looking for contact Rainforest Trust and we will do our best to help.

 
Supporting Rainforest Trust – why and how?

Why Save Acres with Rainforest Trust?
By saving acres with Rainforest Trust you will be taking direct action to save tropical forests and other important wildlife areas, by funding the purchase of threatened habitats. The acres you buy are protected as nature reserves, owned and managed by local organizations. See Why Support Us for more details on how Rainforest Trust operates.

How is Rainforest Trust different to the other organizations buying rainforest?
Rainforest Trust takes a strategic approach to land protection. Our focus on direct conservation action, and our established network of dedicated local conservation organizations, allows us to identify key areas under imminent threat, often representing the critical remaining ranges of endangered species, and move swiftly to purchase and protect these disappearing biodiversity treasures before they are lost forever. Often relatively small but highly strategic conservation land purchases form the core for larger protected areas that are established around these first protected habitats.

How can I get my school to help save real rainforest acres?
There are many ways Rainforest Trust can assist your school to help save threatened rainforest acres. Click here to learn more about Kids 4 Rainforests, Rainforest Trust’s program geared to teach children while making a difference.

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Buying an acre – what does it entail?

When I buy an acre of rainforest or other habitat, what does that mean?
The acres of threatened habitat we ‘sell’ are real acres in real places, but you do not actually own them. The land is always owned and managed by Rainforest Trust’s local partners in the countries where we operate. Click here to learn more about our partners.

How will I know where ‘my’ acre is located and can I visit it?
You can specify in which project area you would like to save acres and you can certainly visit the area you have helped save, though we do not identify individual acres. As projects get established, basic field stations are built to enable small groups to visit. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to see the current Eco-Tours available with Rainforest Trust.

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Finances – where does the money go?

How is $100 per acre figure arrived at?
The price of $100 an acre is an average. This is because not only do land values vary geographically, but they also vary locally. Access to roads, whether or not there is forest, or if they have been cleared for cattle ranching all affect the price. So we have worked out, what we consider to be a fair average, taking into account the costs of actual purchase (legal fees, taxes etc) but not including long-term management and protection. In some parts of South America our partners are able to buy land very cheaply, and it is in those projects area where we offer our supporters the chance to save an acre for $100.

In other parts of the world land is very much more expensive and land prices vary enormously, which means that for our projects in those areas we are unable to specify in advance how many acres your donation will save.

Why are not all projects $100 an acre?

How much land your donation will save depends on the project area. In some parts of South America our partners are able to buy land very cheaply. In other parts of the world land is much more expensive and land prices vary enormously. For donations to these areas we don’t always know in advance how many acres your donation will be able to buy. What we can guarantee is your donation will be used for land purchase and protection and nothing else. Your donation is saving real acres in real places forever- it is not a limited sponsorship, or ‘adoption’ of a piece of land sold over and over again.

How do I know where my donation goes?
Rainforest Trust is completely open about its finances and publishes our audits on our web site so you can see where your money actually goes. Click here to view our  financial page for more information.

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Land purchase – why and how?

Why does Rainforest Trust buy land- isn’t it best to work with local people?
This question addresses two important points. First, Rainforest Trust itself owns no land and has a strict policy that includes local people in all its projects. Before a project is initiated Rainforest Trust identifies a local partner organization with whom a Memorandum of Understanding is signed and a work program agreed. Ownership of the land purchased is with this partner organization, not Rainforest Trust.

Rainforest Trust is responsible for fundraising and overseeing the project in the early stages and the local organization works with the local community to achieve the conservation goals. Support from local government is also a top priority. Local people are employed as park wardens and, when possible, local scientists are used to carry out research at the project sites; also volunteers from nearby towns and universities are invited to take part in projects to conserve their native land and wildlife.

Secondly, why buy the land? There is much debate about the ‘correct’ way to conserve land, and we do recognize that land purchase is only one of the several methods that can ensure the survival of threatened habitats. However, Rainforest Trust feels ownership of land gives a great deal more control over its future than other forms of protection, and, once purchased, the land belongs to the local organizations who take over the responsibility for its protection.

What happens to the land after it has been bought?
A management plan is developed by Rainforest Trust and its local partner, aimed at securing legal protection for the land. Each project, because of its urgency and degree of threat, comes with a different set of problems, and so the solutions for each will differ, but long term conservation of the land and its wildlife is always the key objective.

In addition to land protection, Rainforest Trust also helps develop forms of sustainable and environmentally friendly income activities for the local community. This might be ecotourism, crafts or sustainable forestry on the land, with a view to assisting the project to become an independent entity and not reliant on further funds from Rainforest Trust. After this, the project continues to be managed by the local partner, leaving Rainforest Trust to fundraise to save more threatened land elsewhere.

How can you ensure that the land is adequately protected and not used and/or destroyed by people after it has been purchased?

Unfortunately there is no single answer to this question. As mentioned above, because each project presents its unique problems we need to find different ways of ensuring protection. The essential element of all our operations is that we work with local people, and enthuse them about ‘their’ habitats and ‘their’ wildlife. By involving local conservationists and local communities we reduce the risks of encroachment considerably; they know the local situation and can head off any potential conflicts. If there is occasional incursion into the forests this is quickly dealt with by the park wardens who are familiar with the borders.

We believe that maintaining an active and visible presence, through wardens and researchers, and providing jobs for local people, is an effective method to ensure long-term security. And of course, the purchase of the land ensures our local partners have clear title to the land, so that any encroachment would be illegal.

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How does Rainforest Trust operate? Who do you work with?

How do you decide where to buy land?
Every potential project that comes to Rainforest Trust is put through an evaluation process, based on a set of project selection criteria agreed by Rainforest Trust, including the biodiversity value, the level of threat, and possible risks associated. The evaluation ensures that the land being purchased is of high conservation value and that it is appropriate for Rainforest Trust to become involved.

Do you work with other organizations?
Yes, always. All projects are carried out with local non-government organizations (NGOs). Rainforest Trust has an extensive network and is able to establish new partnerships almost anywhere in the world. These outstanding organizations are critical to the mission of Rainforest Trust as we could not be successful without their strong on-the-ground presence that allows for continual management of the land, community education and outreach, and economic assistance to the local people including training for positions such as reserve guards, wildlife monitors, and eco-guides. Visit Our Partners to learn more about these relationships to help save threatened rainforests forever.

Should this be the responsibility of Governments? Why is it left to individuals?
In many parts of the world, governments simply do not have the funds to adequately protect land they already own. Many developing countries are heavily in debt to the developed world, and we all share a responsibility for ensuring that the world’s wildlife survives into the future. Wherever possible we try to ensure that we have the support of the local government.

How come your office is in Warrenton, VA if you are an international organization? Why aren’t you based in Washington DC?
With modern communications the location of an office is relatively unimportant. Phone, fax, and email mean that we can be in contact with our partners in Patagonia or Philippines or anywhere else in the world, just as easily from Warrenton.

Rainforest Trust finds that there are considerable advantages to its rural location, mainly in that running costs of an office are dramatically less in Warrenton, VA. Staff salaries are also lower, due to the relative cost of living, but quality of life is much better.

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