What is a Land Trust?

A land trust is a nonprofit organization that, as part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by conservation easements, or land acquisition and by its stewardship of such land or easements. Land trusts can be found throughout Missouri and nationwide. Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri (Greenbelt) protects land through conservation easements or land donations.

 

Conservation Easements

These voluntary legal agreements are made between the landowner and Greenbelt that restrict the future use of the land in order to protect its conservation values. When a landowner places a conservation easement on his or her land, he or she still maintains ownership, use of the property, and can sell it or pass it on to heirs. The land is subject to restrictions for use or development agreed upon by both the landowner and Greenbelt. Future owners of the property will be bound by the terms of the conservation easement. Greenbelt is responsible for monitoring the property and insuring the compliance of the terms of the conservation easement.

Conservation easements allow the land to remain private property on which the landowner and his or her heirs can still farm, hunt, or live.

Land Donation

Land can also be given to Greenbelt as a donation as part of the landowner’s long-term estate planning. Most land is donated to land trusts for its important conservation value and is managed by the land trust and protected in perpetuity.

Benefits of Conservation Agreements

  • Knowing the land will be conserved for future generations.
  • In addition to the satisfaction landowners get from knowing their land is protected forever, there may also be potential tax advantages to conservation agreements.

PHOTO CREDIT: CHRIS STARBUCK

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