A Conservation Easement is an agreement between the landowner, the County, the State or the Land Trust, which ensures the permanent protection of the significant agricultural, natural, and scenic resources of the land. Placing an easement on the land may qualify the landowner to receive income, estate, and property tax benefits, while maintaining ownership and privacy. Easements primarily preclude residential, commercial, or industrial development, and provide for the protection of the significant natural resources on the property.
Land conservation is supported through federal, state, local and privately funded programs. Protection of land can be achieved through various methods, including:
- Fee purchase
- Easement purchase
- Easement donation
- Purchase of development rights
- Outright land donation
Preserved lands also include:
- County, town, city, state and federal parks
- Designated open space and recreational land
- Publicly owned ranges, forests and wetlands
- Working landscapes, such as farms or forests with easements or management programs
- Historically important land, such as scenic drives, battlefields, colonial towns and farms.
- Military-owned parks and recreational areas