Our Conservation Toolbox
Conserving the rural and natural areas of Florida is essential to the long-term health and prosperity of our region’s wildlife, people, and communities. With continuing growth, our natural areas, farms and ranchlands are under stress from encroaching development and overuse.
History shows that landowners have a deep connection to their land and many are making the decision to protect their land for their family and for future generations. Our whole community wins when thoughtful landowners conserve their land, protecting wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, scenic landscapes, recreational spaces, and productive agricultural lands.
How We Can Help
By working with a nonprofit land trust, such as the Conservation Trust for Florida, landowners can decide which conservation tool is best for protecting their land. They can select from a number of tools to donate or sell their property.
There may also be income, estate and property tax benefits for donating land, donating a conservation easement, or selling the property as a "bargain sale" at below market value. Although we are eager to help you explore your options, we strongly recommend that landowners have legal and financial advice before embarking on any decision regarding their property.
Conservation Options Glossary
A conservation easement 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. By removing the land’s development potential, the easement lowers its market value, which in turn lowers the estate tax. Whether the easement is sold or donated during life or by will, it can make a critical difference in the heirs’ ability to keep the land intact.
Conservation easements do not require a landowner to grant public access across private property. Conservation easements are extremely flexible, and each is tailored specifically to the individual landowner and the landowner's family. Learn the nuts and bolts.
Donating land for conservation purposes is truly one of the finest legacies a person can leave to future generations. It may be the best conservation strategy for the landowner if they (a) do not wish to pass the land on to heirs; (b) own property they no longer use; (c) own highly appreciated property; (d) have substantial real estate holdings and wish to reduce estate tax burdens; or (e) would like to be relieved of the responsibility of managing and caring for land.
Donating can provide substantial income tax deductions and estate tax benefits (while avoiding any capital gains taxes that would have resulted from selling the property). Most important, if the land is donated because of its conservation value, it will be protected. Learn about the different types of land donation.
Plan For The Future Of Your Land
Michael Gutter, Chris Demers - Plan for the Future of Your Land - Part 1
Busy Kislig-Shires Byerly, Chris Demers - Plan for the Future of Your Land - Part 2
Access handouts on Ownership Succession, the Easement Purchase Program Guide, a Conservation Funding Options Chart, and Conservation Tax Benefits.
Land Use and Water Quality - The Springs Protection Workshop
On-line presentations by experts in conservation and protection of water basins.
Discover which conservation tools can work for you.
- Review the wealth of information in our Resources Section
- Read about Conservation Easements
- Find out about the advantages of Land Donation
- Consider a Bargain Sale
- Complete our Landowner Questionnaire to help you determine how you want your land to be used in the future.
- Contact us for consultation on which option is right for you.
If landowners need to realize some immediate income from selling their land, yet would like the property to go to a land trust, a bargain sale might be the answer. In a bargain sale, the land is sold to a land trust for less than its fair market value. This not only makes it more affordable for the land trust, but offers several benefits: it provides cash, avoids some capital gains tax, and provides a charitable income tax deduction based on the difference between the land's fair market value and its sale price.
Land Acquisition Programs
Depending on the nature of your land, are a range of public and private programs that can help purchase easements or buy land outright. These programs were established to protect watersheds, agricultural heritage, as well as threatened or endangered plant and animal species. The CTF would can help you plan to connect with programs that are right for your situation.
Learn how help farmers and landowners protect the character of their property and plan for its future.
View this inspiring and informative video by Former Florida Governor Buddy MacKay, who is also a member of CTF's Advisory Board. He talks about the importance of protecting wildlife corridors and protecting land for conservation. Video is by the University of Florida, IFAS as part of the Springs Protection Workshop in May 2012 (11 minutes).