Conservation Easements: What are they?

What are they? A voluntary agreement between a landowner and another entity, normally one with funding sufficient to close and support the deal. The landowner gives up some of the value in exchange for money, tax credits or development rights on a portion of the land. Alternatively, the agreement could be one of fee simple where a government entity purchases the land outright. The agreements are in perpetuity and are intended to protect properties like farms and ranches that have unique conservation values.