Land Acquisition & Stewardship

Through our Land Acquisition Process, MDLT purchases lands that have strategic conservation values and works to ensure that all acquired land is properly maintained. Every land transaction supports the vision of a Mojave Desert with interconnected, permanently protected scenic and natural areas hosting a diversity of native plants and wildlife.

Our Land Stewardship Team manages the land we acquire and oversees habitat restoration, permanent monitoring activities, and property clean-up efforts. Projects include restoring disturbed areas using a variety of ecological restoration techniques; trail work and planting; monitoring and collecting data in restored areas; leading invasive weed removal projects and general clean-up. We rely on a team of trained Land Steward Volunteers to help us accomplish our mission.

MDLT uses standards and practices developed by the Land Trust Alliance to protect lands with natural, scenic and cultural resource values in the Mojave Desert.

Together with our supporters MDLT has protected more than 60,000 acres throughout the Mojave Desert, including the ongoing restoration and stewardship of nearly 16,000 acres, since our founding in 2006. We continue to carry forth our vision of acquiring, protecting and caring for many more acres throughout our 24.5 million-acre service region.

Our Land Acquisition Program is focused on the efficient use of resources to make the biggest impact for conservation of the California Desert. We work only with willing sellers to acquire lands in our target areas. If you own land inside of an identified conservation priority area, MDLT may be able to give you market value for your investment.

Related: Discover the Added Values of Selling Your Land to MDLT

Our Basic Conservation Values


MDLT works from its Strategic Plan with input from supporters and partners to identify lands that protect:

Wildlife habitat
Scenic views
Public Access
Cultural sites
Ecological Processes


Once identified, each project requires a tailored approach to be successful, and many aspects are considered:

Possible sources of funding and support
Envision successful outcomes and benefits
How to partner with others to maximize resources and capacity


We reach out to landowners located within a given project area in a variety of ways, to make them aware of our interest in acquiring their land via a simple process that provides market value. Many landowners still own the land for investment purposes, recreational activities, or to keep a family legacy intact. MDLT’s goal is to build relationships with the landowners in our project areas and to identify common interests.


MDLT has a ten-year history of acquiring land in the California Desert, completing over 1,000 transactions to protect over 60,000 acres. That is an average of one transaction every four days, or sixteen acres a day for 10 years! Our aim is to make the process simple, quick, and fair.


Once land is purchased, MDLT works to ensure its permanent protection. In many cases this means transferring the land to public ownership, to be managed as Wilderness or as part of our National Parks. In other cases we plan to own and care for the land permanently. This requires long term planning and regular support from our membership, volunteers, partners, and foundations.


MDLT is always working to learn from our community members, landowners, and partners how we can improve our program. We are constantly refining our approach from the input we receive and lessons learned. Our aim is for the Land Acquisition Program to reflect the diversity of the communities and ecosystems in California Desert.