the trustees of reservations
On The Land
The Trustees of Reservations

Monday, February 27, 2012

One Thing Congress Agrees On: Land Conservation

Conservation Tax Incentive Championed by Majorities of Both Parties in House:  The Land Trust Alliance announced that over 300 U.S. Representatives, including nine members from Massachusetts (Representatives Olver, Neal, McGovern, Frank, Tsongas, Markey, Capuano, Lynch, and Keating) have co-sponsored the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. H.R. 1964 makes permanent a recently-expired tax incentive that helps organizations like The Trustees of Reservations work with modest income landowners to conserve important natural or historic resources in our community.

Many of the donors of Conservation Restrictions to TTOR have benefitted from this federal income tax deduction in the past, and we support the LTA's efforts to re-establish it going forward. Since the incentive expired at the end of 2011, landowners with modest incomes now receive little tax benefit from restricting what may be their family’s most valuable asset. By allowing donors to deduct a larger portion of their income over a longer period of time, H.R. 1964 will help thousands of family farmers, ranchers, and forest owners afford to conserve their land.

For more information on the tax incentive legislation visit the LTA website at   A broad coalition of sportsmen, outdoor enthusiasts, farmers, ranchers and national conservation groups are working together to make this incentive permanent in the 112th Congress.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Growing importance of conservation restrictions as land protection tool

The recent Land Trust Alliance census shows that more land is being protected through the conservation restrictions (aka conservation easements in most parts of the country) than ownership by land conservation groups. As the graph below shows, 8.8 million acres are now protected via CRs by state and local land trusts, compared with 2.1 million acres owned. This also means that good CR stewardship (building good relationships with landowners, regular monitoring, rigorous documentation, etc) will also be more important than ever in coming years.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Newest Westport restriction is the 20,000th acre protected by Trustees of Reservations CRs!

An end-of-year conservation restriction granted to The Trustees of Reservations and Westport Land Conservation Trust pushed the total area protected by CRs across the state over the 20,000 acre mark! Congratulations to everyone in Westport for helping us achieve this important milestone.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Symposium on Conservation Easements

The Duke Journal of Law and Contemporary Problems has published a symposium edition entitled Conservation Easements: New Perspectives in an Evolving World (Volume 74 Fall 2011 Number 4). The purpose of the symposium is to "avoid restating the conventional wisdom about conservation easements and, instead, to stimulate innovative thinking and reforms in conservation easement law and practice." The symposium articles address a host of interesting and sometimes controversial issues, including the challenges posed to perpetual protection by climate change, the weaknesses in state conservation easement enabling legislation and suggested reforms, the inefficacy of the federal tax incentive program relating to conservation easement donations, the risks state legislatures pose to perpetual conservation easements, and why the doctrine of merger generally should not apply to perpetual conservation easements.