Land Conservation protects our natural resources and maintains and enhances air and water quality. Land conservation also preserves historical, architectural and archaeological heritage.
Conserving land doesn't mean it can't be touched. For example, land in conservation or open space easements can typically still be used normally, such as for timber harvesting, farming, residency, etc. The easement simply protects the property’s unique characteristics – prime soils, wetlands, endangered species habitat, and so forth. The public benefits from such protection because it assures the availability of land for agriculture, forests, recreation and open space.
Some Notable Conservation Resources:
- Resale of Land
- Donation of Land for Conservation
- Bargain Sale
- Donation with a Lifetime Income
Resale of Land:
If you need to sell your land but don’t want to see it destroyed by development, a land trust can help. Prior to the sale, you can work with your local land trust to place a conservation easement on the land before it goes on the market. Some land trusts can also help identify potential buyers for conserved lands.
Donation of Land for Conservation:
Donating land for conservation is one of the finest legacies a person can leave to future generations. If you choose to donate your land, your land trust can work with you to identify the best arrangement. The land trust might retain ownership of the property as a permanent preserve or transfer the property to a suitable owner, such as a government agency. In some cases, the land is sold to a private owner, subject to a conservation easement held by the land trust. (Proceeds from such a sale could fund the land trust’s long-term management of the conservation easement and/or help it to protect even more land.) The full market value of land donated to a nonprofit land trust is tax deductible as a charitable gift.
In a bargain sale, you sell your land to a land trust for less than its fair market value. This not only makes it more affordable for the land trust, but offers several benefits to you: it provides cash, avoids some capital gains tax, and entitles you to a charitable income tax deduction based on the difference between the land’s fair market value and its sale price.
Donation with a Lifetime Income:
If you have land you would like to protect by donating it to a land trust, but you need to receive income during your lifetime, consider a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder unitrust. Charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder unitrusts are most useful for highly appreciated land, the sale of which would incur high capital gains tax.
How you Benefit From Land Trusts:
Across the country local citizens and communities have joined together to save the places they cherish by establishing land trusts. These non-profit, community-based conservation organizations acquire and protect land for the public good. Strong land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and long-term caretakers of their critical land resources.
The nation's 1,700 + land trusts work with communities to acquire and manage land for the purpose of permanent conservation and then steward the land for public benefit. The land trusts are on the front lines with their local communities to help them save America's land heritage.
Over the years, land trusts have been extraordinarily successful, having protected more than 37 million acres of land, according to the National Land Trust Census.
Land Trusts Help Your Community:
Land trusts help individuals protect community resources that come from the land – water, food security, wildlife, and places for recreation and reflection. They promote stronger local communities by giving citizens the knowledge and support they need to reach out and work with their neighbors to protect the local places they need and love. Each trust serves as a part of the national community of land trust staff, volunteers, members and advocates committed to private land conservation across the country
Land Trusts Help Save Limited Resources:
Our air and water are limited resources. The tree canopy and vegetation serve as critical filters for our air. Wetlands that border our rivers, lakes and streams filter pollution before it reaches our drinking water. If we do not remove the pollutants that our society puts into the air and water, we consume them ourselves. In many communities it is not uncommon for air quality alerts to close schools and businesses. Already, nearly half of the river miles in America are too polluted to drink from and over 50 percent of our drinking water comes from rivers. Saving land in local communities helps offset this danger.
Land Trusts Offer Economic Benefit Through Land Conservation:
In addition to health and food benefits, conserving land increases property values near greenbelts, saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development, and reduces the need for expensive water filtration facilities. Study after study has demonstrated the tremendous economic benefits of land conservation. Land trusts work to conserve more land to keep communities healthy and a desirable place to live.