Conservation easements are an essential tool for protecting the American landscape. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of acres protected by land trusts grew from 23 million acres to 47 million acres. Conservation easements used by federal, state, and local governments would likely add several million additional acres to this total. Given their widespread use, ongoing innovations, and pressing environmental challenges, the time is ripe to provide a comprehensive review of conservation easements. A Changing Landscape: The Conservation Easement Reader does just that, offering conservationists, academics, government officials, and others a nuanced, multifaceted resource.
Featuring excerpts of leading articles and reports in law and in the natural and social sciences, The Conservation Reader illuminates various aspects of conservation easements. The book opens with background concepts in real property law, a history of the legal development and use of conservation easements, and examples of how these tools are used to achieve various environmental, conservation, and business goals. The Conservation Reader also examines the limitations and critiques of conservation easements, their tax treatment, and how they can be used in strategic resources planning and protection. The book closes with a forward-looking discussion of the evolving use of conservation easements in other countries, touching upon the promise and challenge of adapting this instrument internationally. Throughout, The Conservation Reader arms readers with the information they need in determining when and how the use of conservation easements is appropriate to achieve their strategic conservation goals.