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Private Conservation Easements

Conservation easements have permitted the leverage of private initiative, resources, and commitment to ensure that open space and wildlife habitats are preserved for future generations. At the same time though, private conservation easements raise public policy concerns related to the tax subsidies, the absence of public process in their creation, long-term stewardship, and flexibility to adapt conserved land to emerging needs of the community. This article examines the recent achievements and benefits of conservation easements, and suggests some reforms that might make them an even stronger vehicle for land conservation in the public interest.