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

800,000
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

17,847
Numbers of easements held by local and regional trusts in 2003

2.500
Number of new easement deals made per year

1,526
Number of local and regional trusts operating in 2003

2
Number of new land trusts formed each week

Two-thirds
Percentage of land trusts that are all-volunteer

$100,000
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



$157,500
Total federal income tax savings for a high-income landowner who donates a conservation easement worth $500,000

$36,450
Total federal income-tax savings for a middle-income landowner who donates an easement worth $500,000

$9,450
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.

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