Land Trusts and Conservation Easements
A land trust is a nonprofit organization that actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting in conservation easements. Land trusts and conservation easements often help families keep their family farms. Most land trusts are community, state or region-based and deeply connected to local needs, so they are well-equipped to identify land that offers critical natural habitat as well as land offering recreational, agricultural and other conservation value.
The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, Inc., is a member of The Land Trust Alliance, a national land trust organization with a mission to "save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America." Read more about the Land Trust Alliance
The Land Trust Alliance promotes voluntary private land conservation to benefit communities and natural systems and is the national convener, strategist and representative of more than 1,700 land trusts across America.
Standards and practices:
Our adherence to the Standards and Practices ensures that landowners receive ethical, professional advisement and that our operations are undertaken in accordance with the most recent best management practices from LTA and the various governmental entities that have a say in the rules governing conservation easements.
Click here to learn more about Land Trust Alliance standards and practices
Click here for the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust standards and practices
How conservation easements work
Every conservation easement (CE) must meet certain criteria. First, the land must have conservation values (CVs). Conservation Values set forth in the tax code include such things as relatively natural habitat for native animals and plants, productive forest, agricultural lands, and protection of water quality. All CEs must have a baseline documentation report (BDR), a snapshot in time of the property that documents the property's CVs and maps out areas on the property to be preserved. For more information on the easement process, click HERE.
The rights reserved within the CE, such as agriculture, timber management, construction of barns, sheds, houses, and ponds, must be compatible with and allow for the protection of the CVs. For example, if the purpose of the Easement is to protect prime agricultural land, the landowner would typically reserve the "farmstead area" (repair shop, equipment shed, etc.). The landowners pledge that their activities will be conducted in accordance with best management practices to ensure the property will remain productive.
But for any of the above to matter at all, the land must have an owner willing to take the extraordinary step of saying "this land is important to me and to the health and safety of future generations and I am willing to protect it."
Our land trust understands this and we work to make sure that we are available to help. We work with each landowner to create an easement tailored to their property's strongest conservation values and plan a stewardship program that is feasible and ensures their wishes for the property will be observed in for generations to come.
To see the easement process, Click HERE.