Conservation Easement Statistics


Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, "Write-off on the Range."

1.1 billion
Total private acres in United States

2 million
Number of acres of "development sprawl" consuming landscapes per year

Number of acres of land protected by local and regional land trusts per year, either in new conservation easements or purchases

7 million
Total acres covered by conservation easements held by local, regional and national land trusts

Numbers of easements held by local and regional trusts in 2003

Number of new easement deals made per year

Number of local and regional trusts operating in 2003

Number of new land trusts formed each week

Percentage of land trusts that are all-volunteer

Estimated value of the smallest easements that are donated, indicating the smallest tax write-offs.

Sources: Land Trust Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, US National Resources Conservation Service

Total federal income tax savings for a high-income landowner who donates a conservation easement worth $500,000

Total federal income-tax savings for a middle-income landowner who donates an easement worth $500,000

Total federal income-tax savings for a low-income landowner who donates an easement worth $500,000

Source: Nancy McLaughlin, University of Utah assistant professor of law, in Ecological Law Quarterly, 2004. High income, defined as an adjusted gross income of $250,000 per year; middle income, defined as $75,000 per year; low income, defined as $35,000 per year; total tax savings spread over six years to maximize the benefits.