A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and a government agency or non-profit conservation organization which limits the amount of development that can occur on land. The landowner continues to own the property, but the easement provides the ability to prohibit future types of development or uses of the land that could spoil its natural resources, historic value, or aesthetic beauty.
Why should you consider granting a conservation easement?
Most conservation easements are granted by landowners who simply love their land. They view the easement’s restrictions against future development as leaving a legacy of historic character, functioning ecosystems, important wildlife habitat, production agriculture and refreshing open spaces for future generations to enjoy. The conservation easement also provides landowners unique opportunities in family planning – from avoiding or lowering the estate tax burden to preventing future fragmentation and quarrels over dividing the land. Also, some landowners just feel a civic duty to provide something special – such as a scenic view along a major highway, a habitat for an endangered species, or preservation of a historically important site – for their neighbors to enjoy.