Conservation Easement

Definition: A legal mechanism whereby a landowner retains ownership of his/her land, but grants some right(s) to the land to a "holder" that is defined as a charitable organization declared exempt from taxation. In Virginia, for example, private, non-profit entities can hold easements when the entity has a primary purpose to retain or protect natural or open space, agricultural, forestal, recreational, or open space use; protect natural resources; maintain or enhance air or water quality; preserve historic, architectural or archaeological resources.