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The Land Journal recently sat down with Dean Saunders to discuss conservation easements. Saunders outlined three reasons why the state buys conservation easements from landowners.
1. Avoidance of managing costs.
2. The property remains on the tax rolls.
3. The property still stimulates the economy.

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Since 1985, Dean has specialized in Florida land and conservation easements. He served in the US Senate as Agricultural Liaison, Special Assistant, and Director of External Affairs to US Senator Lawton Chiles, then Governor Chiles (D-FL). From 1992 to 1996 he served in the Florida House of Representatives, where his strong passion for supporting landowner property rights and conserving the integrity of a property’s natural resources culminated in his authorship of groundbreaking conservation legislation. He comes from an eighth-generation Florida agricultural family, earned a BSA from the University of Florida in Fruit Crops, Food and Resource Economics, and is a recognized Florida land and conservation easement authority. 

A conservation easement is a restriction on future development rights of the land while the landowner still maintains ownership and agricultural use of the land. This can be of great benefit to a landowner for many reasons.

If you own natural, undeveloped property that you want to preserve for future generations, selling a conservation easement is a great option to take into consideration.

There are many types of easements and programs are run at the county and state level among varying departments and organizations. Conservation easements can protect your land from development that might destroy its natural beauty and ecosystem.

While conservation easements can be beneficiary to landowners, it is also a great way for the state government to approach land conservation. When asked why states purchase conservation easements from landowners, Dean gave the following three reasons:

1. Avoidance of managing costs.

According to Saunders, management costs for land are "extraordinarily high." The government can get around these costs by purchasing a conservation easement and leaving land management to the landowner.

 

2. The property remains on the tax rolls.

By keeping the property on the tax rolls, the government still gets some tax revenue from the land regardless of its status as a conservation easement. 

 

3. The property still stimulates the economy.

"If a property is used for running cattle, farming, or ecotourism, then it is still providing some stimulus to the economy." Saunders stated. 

For more insights into conservation easements, check out the video below:

 

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