So as I have mentioned in the past fall brings not only cooler temperatures and different colors but for us it means working out in the field. Monitoring; checking in with our easement landowners and making sure that all is well at the easement.
A conservation easement is a tool that we use to ensure significant natural land remains protected without having to purchase the property outright. The landowner retains ownership with caveats that restrict any development or disturbance of the vegetation. The easement is written in perpetuity, no matter who owns the property. It’s a binding contract that is registered as a deed and can’t be broken. If the landowner wants to sell his land the conservation easement has to be transferred with the land and remains bound by the contract.
Maintaining good relationships with the easement landowner is one of the most important aspects of the conservation easement monitoring process. Here in the Southeast Coastal Plain landscape we have 14 conservation easements. Some of the easements are small, some are very large. Some have buildings and some are vacant land. All of them require a yearly visit and report to ensure that the landowner is following the terms of the easement.
Having conservation easements in our land portfolio is a creative and collaborative way to ensure that ecologically significant lands remain natural parts of the landscape; protecting nature one tree at time!