September 17, 2020
Since Congress passed the bipartisan legislation that created conservation easements in 1980, the amount of land permanently protected from development has increased significantly. Today, nearly 30 million acres of natural land are off limits – a feat of environmental protection that we should all celebrate.
A conservation easement is essentially the right to develop a particular plot of land. Someone who owns several acres or more of undeveloped land (subject to some conditions set forth by the IRS) can convey an easement to a land conservation trust that would forever prohibit any development on that property and allow that donor to deduct the reduced value of the land resulting from his or her taxable income.