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 Easement 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 Easement 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 Easement 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.
The Conservation Easement Reader is a vital resource at a time when we must maximize the use of conservation easements to protect lands threatened by development, population growth, and climate change. Add it to your library, consult it often.
Harvard University Fellow and President Emeritus of the Land Trust Alliance
In A Changing Landscape: The Conservation Easement Reader, Laurie Ristino and Jessica Jay have assembled a thoughtful and comprehensive review of conservation easement law and policy, providing the necessary fundamentals alongside discussions of the more recent developments and the hot topics that will define the future of our work. Perhaps most importantly, the authors’ own contributions, and the articles they have so carefully curated, are highly readable, and while written for a sophisticated audience, will be appealing to both legal professionals as well as others hailing from other backgrounds. If you are starting out in land conservation, make this the first book in your library.
Senior Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer, The Trust for Public Land
The Conservation Easement Reader is a “keystone” to any land conservationist bookshelf and will be the go-to reference piece for both legal minds and aspiring to be legal minds alike. I wish that this had been published years ago as I can think of many times where it would have been not just handy but indispensable. I can’t wait to add it to my quiver of tools, dog-ear or tab the pages and keep it within arm’s reach to tackle the next issue that comes along.
Director, Land Conservation Loans, The Conservation Fund