Protecting the Land: Conservation Easements Past, Present, and Future
foreword by Jean Hocker
edited by Julie Ann Gustanski and Roderick Squires
Island Press, 2000
eISBN: 978-1-61091-578-6 | Paper: 978-1-55963-654-4
Library of Congress Classification KF658.C65P76 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 346.730435


A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a property owner and a conservation organization, generally a private nonprofit land trust, that restricts the type and amount of development that can be undertaken on that property. Conservation easements protect land for future generations while allowing owners to retain property rights, at the same time providing them with significant tax benefits. Conservation easements are among the fastest growing methods of land preservation in the United States today.

Protecting the Land provides a thoughtful examination of land trusts and how they function, and a comprehensive look at the past and future of conservation easements. The book:

  • provides a geographical and historical overview of the role of conservation easements

  • analyzes relevant legislation and its role in achieving community conservation goals

  • examines innovative ways in which conservation easements have been used around the country

  • considers the links between social and economic values and land conservation

Contributors, including noted tax attorney and land preservation expert Stephen Small, Colorado's leading land preservation attorney Bill Silberstein, and Maine Coast Heritage Trust's general counsel Karin Marchetti, describe and analyze the present status of easement law. Sharing their unique perspectives, experts including author and professor of geography Jack Wright, Dennis Collins of the Wildlands Conservancy, and Chuck Roe of the Conservation Trust of North Carolina offer case studies that demonstrate the flexibility and diversity of conservation easements. Protecting the Land offers a valuable overview of the history and use of conservation easements and the evolution of easement-enabling legislation for professionals and citizens working with local and national land trusts, legal advisors, planners, public officials, natural resource mangers, policymakers, and students of planning and conservation.

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