Our landowners and members
recognize that land conservation
makes a difference for clean water,
sustainable forests, wildlife
conservation, and outdoor recreation.
Consider making land conservation part of your legacy.
CONSERVATION EASEMENTS FOR LAND CONSERVATION
Conservation easements are the primary tool we use for land conservation. They keep land in private ownership while prohibiting subdivision, greatly limiting future development, and ensuring conservation features of the property are protected. Tall Timbers works with each landowner to develop a conservation easement that is best for them and their family.
Let’s have a conversation about land conservation
We love talking about conserving land and natural resources. If you would like to explore options for conserving your land please contact our Conservation Coordinator, Shane Wellendorf directly at (850) 508-5440 or swell@TallTimbers.org
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a conservation easement?
A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally binding agreement between a landowner and a qualified land trust or government entity that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect ecological, historic, or scenic resources. Besides possessing a piece of land and paying taxes on it, landowners have rights to their land, such as the ability to subdivide, build structures, cut trees, mine for minerals, and other rights.
A conservation easement allows a landowner to retain ownership while restricting some of those rights in order to protect the property’s conservation values. Easements are custom designed and negotiated to meet the personal and financial needs of the landowner. An easement may cover portions of a property or the entire parcel. The easement will identify the rights the landowner wishes to retain, limit, or forgo.
Simply, it’s for the love of the land. Our conservation easement landowners often come to us with a strong connection to the many resources and enjoyment their land brings to them. Often landowners have committed much time, effort, and money to maintain their land and its precious features. Given that investment, some landowners do not want their land subdivided and developed. Permanent land conservation can be the best tool for achieving a broad spectrum of objectives, such as keeping the land in the family or to ensure their wetlands will be protected in the future.
Can I still use my land if it has a conservation easement?
Yes. Conservation easements are compatible with a range of rural land-uses and activities, such as forestry, farming, hunting, fishing, etc.
How will a Conservation easement impact my property?
A conservation easement will greatly reduce or eliminate any future subdivision and new residential construction.
Tall Timbers has a policy on conservation easement subdivision and new construction rights.
What rights does a landowner retain?
The landowner retains the right to continue with compatible rural land-uses, such as forestry, farming, hunting, fishing, etc.
The property can be lived on, sold, or inherited by will.
The property can be conveyed in a variety ways with the conservation easement continuing in perpetuity.
How long does a conservation easement last?
All of Tall Timbers conservation easement are perpetual, meaning they last FOREVER and run with land for successor landowners. Only permanent, perpetual conservation easements can qualify for federal income tax benefits, estate tax benefits, and most state tax benefits.
Can a conservation easement ever be changed?
Yes, but only under certain circumstances. A conservation easement is a permanent legal document that is publicly recorded. Modifying the terms of a conservation easement is possible, but it could require an amendment. Conservation easements cannot be terminated, except by a judicial order.
Tall Timbers also develops a management plan with the landowner that outlines much of the land management provisions required by the conservation easement. It is not a publicly recorded document, and it can be periodically updated or changed with agreement by both parties. Most updates can be addressed in the management plan rather than changing the conservation easement.
Do I have to place a conservation easement on my entire property?
No. Conservation easements can be placed on a portion of property or the entire parcel.
- A partial conservation easement can result in the protection of conservation features while still allowing for flexibility in land use on the remaining portion of the property.
- Completing a conservation easement on an entire property ensures conservation protections across the parcel and often are less complicated transactions.
Does a conservation easement require public access?
No. It is at the discretion of the landowner if they want to incorporate public access into their conservation easement. Almost all of Tall Timbers conservation easement do not allow public access.
Does Tall Timbers accept all conservation easement offers?
No. Tall Timbers is interested in holding conservation easements that meet our organizational mission of land conservation protecting rural land uses, water resources, wildlife habitats and other conservation features. We also focus our conservation efforts within a regional zone of southwest Georgia and the Big Bend of Florida. Every conservation easement project is reviewed by Tall Timbers staff, then a subcommittee of our Board of Trustees must approve it before staff can begin project development.
What is Tall Timbers’ role in a conservation easement?
We have many roles with each conservation easement.
- In most cases Tall Timbers will work with the landowners and their advisors to develop all documentation required for the project. Details
- Our biggest role is that we serve as the holder (grantee) of the conservation easement. When donating a conservation easement, you are essentially donating a subset of your property interest to Tall Timbers. The conservation easement designates Tall Timbers as the “holder” of those rights.
- We are also required to complete an annual monitoring visit to the conservation easement property at least once per year. The required visit is to ensure everything on the property is consistent with the conservation easement. We see our annual monitoring visit as an opportunity to interact with our landowners and provide a host of stewardship services
Tall Timbers Conservation Easements
by the Numbers…
Acres total in
Acres in our smallest
Acres in our largest