News & Events

What is a conservation easement?

Author: Stephanie Wiegand | 06/20/16

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a protecting organization, like a land trust, that permanently protects land while the landowner continues to own it. Conservation easements are most often donated to non-profit nature conservancy organizations, such as Jefferson Land Trust, or to a governmental agency.

A conservation easement places restrictions on how a parcel of land can be used. This creates a permanent safeguard against your land being used in a way that could damage or destroy its ecological, scenic, recreational or resource value. Jefferson Land Trust is legally bound to uphold these restrictions, ensuring the special characteristics of your land are preserved forever. Characteristics we protect include rich farm soils and timberland, critical wildlife habitat, and forests and wetlands that provide clean air and water and scenic and recreational open spaces.

Every conservation easement is tailored to the particular needs and wishes of the landowner, the natural characteristics of the land and the conservation objectives of Jefferson Land Trust. Therefore, the land must meet certain criteria for it to be considered for protection.