Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Phillip Elden | Land Trusts

Phillip Elden
Throughout Oregon, there are a number of programs that help protect and preserve local wildlife. Here, conservationist Phillip Elden answers frequently asked questions about land trusts.

Q: What is a land trust?

Phillip Elden: A land trust is a charitable organization with the mission to preserve and protect specific areas of land and the flora and fauna that inhabit it. They are established with a mission to protect land in perpetuity and work with local wildlife management agencies, watershed councils, landowners, and farmers to maintain the state’s economic and natural heritage.

Q: Are all land trusts identical?

Phillip Elden: No, however, they all have similar attributes in that their mission is to protect the land. Some land trusts in Oregon work on very specific and narrow geographical areas, while others focus on statewide attributes, such as soil.

Q: What is a conservation easement?

Phillip Elden: This is a voluntary agreement between a land trust and a homeowner/land owner. It is essentially a license that allows the conservation and protection of the land, which remains under private ownership. Typically, a conservation easement is granted to an organization that emphasizes specific activities or land uses that align with the owner’s personal beliefs and values. A conservation easement must serve a specific purpose, such as to protect a natural habitat, recreation area, or public space or farmland.

Q: How many conservation easements are in Oregon?

Phillip Elden: There are approximately 156,000 protected acres across the state. These are divided between 460 different conservation easements. Nearly 200 are in the form of land trusts.

Conservation easements and land trusts are an important way that city, state, and private agencies work year-round to protect Oregon’s natural resources and ensure the longevity of its diverse wildlife population.