Monday, April 7, 2008

Conservation easements

The Battle Creek Enquirer reported "Nationally, conservation easements are gaining popularity. The 2005 National Land Trust Census, compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based Land Trust Alliance, reported 37 million acres were protected across the country by local and state land trusts and by such big-name conservation groups as The Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited. Although some easements protect urban gardens and local parks, most are focused on wildlife habitat, open space and wetlands, according to the census."One commenter wrote "What happens to this land?" - a very reasonable question. The answer is no one knows for sure. Conservation easements are a fairly new experiment in real estate. We assume permanency but our courts have shown willingness to allow the custodian to modify use of trust assets under an increasingly wide range of circumstances. The review on the effectiveness of conservation easements remains unwritten.

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