More than 40 million acres of land in the U.S. is protected under conservation easements – legally binding agreements designed to protect private land – for example, by restricting future development in environmentally sensitive areas. Tom Langen of Clarkson University explains the motivation.
Langen: “Landowners do this because they are concerned about heritage – what their children, their neighbors, their community has available in terms of natural resources in an area. So we find that landowners tend to be concerned about the long-term environmental quality.”
Conservation easements are popular because they preserve open space, but there are also criticisms.”#Conservation Click To Tweet
For example, all future owners of a land under an easement remain legally bound by the terms of that contract. So even if current best practices suggest thinning trees would be the best way to manage a forest, the landowner would be forbidden to do so if it were prohibited by a conservation easement.
Some environmentalists suggest writing conservation easements in a way that allows the terms to be adapted to changing needs – a solution that could ensure these agreements continue to do what landowners have always intended: protect ecosystems, species, and open spaces for the future.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Top photo: Copyright protected.
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