The conservation of private land through permanent easement insures the conservation value remains intact and unchanged in perpetuity. Conservation easements allow the property to be retained by the owner while providing wildlife habitat and corridors, protection of water sources, improving air quality, preserving natural beauty, and protecting agricultural resources.
Land can also be conserved and developed into public nature areas. While the public areas provide protection of natural resources, they also offer wonderful educational and recreational opportunities. Greenspace has been shown to improve quality of life, and outdoor recreational pursuits can be large economic drivers for communities.
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between the landowner and the land trust that permanently limits the uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. The landowner continues to own the land and can live on it, sell it or pass it on to heirs with the agreement remaining in place.
Conservation easements can be placed on various types and sizes of both private and public land. In most cases, the landowner is eligible for Federal income, estate, and property tax benefits. In some cases, the landowner may also qualify for Georgia tax benefits.
According to the American Farmland Trust, we are currently losing 175 acres of farmland every hour. For that reason, a large focus of our conservation efforts in preserving working farms and forests.
Through conservation easements, we protect working farms, forests, scenic and historic landscapes, rivers, vital wildlife habitats, and special areas that are protected for future generations.