This study introduces community-led land management (CLLM) as a unifying concept, drawn from an environmental history perspective, that both researchers and community members might use in analysis and reflection on land management activities carried out by communities in connection with place. By exploring the histories of three otherwise disparate case studies in south-western Australia–a catchment group, an Indigenous ranger group and an urban bushland friends group–we draw attention to common attributes of community leadership and co-operative, hands-on work in and for a defined geographical area. These case studies also suggest a trend toward increasingly structured controls within the movement, with neoliberal regulation and accountability tending to obscure community origins. While inclusive of many landcare activities, CLLM can be understood as a broader social movement covering diverse groupings, where communities continue both to lead and apply their place-specific knowledge and labour. This social movement is of crucial importance for effectively tackling the escalating environmental problems in Australia and elsewhere.