A conservation easement is set of restrictions placed on a designated piece of land that prevents development or other substantial change in perpetuity. It is voluntary and unchangeable, and is designed to preserve and protect the property’s natural state. A conservation easement can cover some or all of a property, and limits certain uses and development on that property, depending on the type of land. Generally, while the landowner continues to own the land, a non-profit, third party entity, referred to as a land trust, is charged with monitoring and enforcement of easement rules for the land.
In an effort to encourage conservation of precious lands, Congress provided substantial tax benefits for those who agree to voluntarily restrict property in a manner which preserves the land in its raw form in perpetuity.