Land trusts protect land directly by buying or accepting donations of either land or conservation easements. A conservation easement (or conservation restriction) is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values, including wildlife habitat. It allows the landowner to continue to own and use the land and to sell it or pass it on to heirs. Land trusts also educate the public and advocate for the need to conserve land.
Local land trusts across the United States have done an impressive job protecting the working farms and forests, scenic landscapes and wildlife habitats that support our livelihoods and our environment. Most land trusts identify wildlife habitat as a core value, but small staff sizes and limited financial and technical resources can make on-the-ground biodiversity conservation a challenge.
The Defenders Living Lands program connects land trusts to financial and technical resources that will assist them in making strategic decisions about where to work to conserve high priority native species and habitats, and how to use effective land stewardship, partnerships and major funding resources to restore and manage native habitats for long-term benefit.
Climate Change and Tidal Marshes
Watch the video below to learn more about how Defenders is working with our conservation partners to develop strategies for climate change adaptation for the Somerset-Wicomico Marshes Important Bird Area.