How It Works

You know your land. We know Tennessee land conservation. Let’s work together.

We work with landowners across the state to actively protect their land for the benefit of Tennesseans of today and tomorrow. We tailor each project to meet the goals of private landowners seeking to conserve the important features of their land.

Our work spans projects protecting thousands of acres of forestland on the Cumberland Plateau to a .22 acre urban garden near downtown Nashville, and many family farms, historic sites and green spaces in between. We look at each individual property and analyze its conservation characteristics before moving forward to protect it.

How we work with landowners:

We work with communities and willing landowners to protect private and public land with a range of tools. In most cases, we work with landowners to draft a personalized, voluntary legal agreement, known as a conservation easement, to protect land.

How does a conservation easement work?
A conservation easement agreement permanently limits how the land can be developed and subdivided in order to protect its conservation values. The Land Trust’s role is to ensure that the agreement is upheld forever.

Under a conservation easement, landowners usually retain the rights to:

  • Own and live on the land
  • Sell the property or transfer to heirs
  • Farm, manage timber, hunt, fish and recreate on the land
  • Maintain and/or build a limited number of homes on the land
  • Restrict or grant public access

What are the benefits of a conservation easement?

  • Peace of Mind – The land will be conserved by The Land Trust for Tennessee in a way that satisfies the landowner’s goals and protects the conservation values inherent to the land.
  • Charitable Deduction – When you agree not to develop land, its appraised value is reduced. Landowners may be eligible for an income tax deduction based on that reduction in value.
  • Reduced Property Taxes – This agreement may reduce or stabilize property taxes, depending on current zoning, land use and current assessed value.
  • Estate Planning – Conservation easements may also reduce estate taxes and help keep land in the family.

Your tax attorney and accountant can tell you more about specific tax benefits that may apply to your situation.

How does The Land Trust for Tennessee uphold its conservation easements?
The Land Trust monitors each property protected by a conservation easement annually to ensure that the terms of the conservation easement are being met. In the event an accidental or unintended violation does occur, we are legally obligated to enforce the easement. However, we always aim to maintain a positive, collaborative relationship with landowners to work towards a resolution.

We operate our stewardship program in accordance with The Land Trust Alliance’s Standards and Practices.

Other options for protecting your land:
The Land Trust for Tennessee also accepts outright gifts of land. Click here for more information about donating your property.

Interested in working with The Land Trust for Tennessee to conserve your land?

Here are three basic steps to get started:

  • Step 1 – Download a list of Frequently Asked Questions about how we protect land to see if this may be right for you.
  • Step 2 – Consult with your family and advisors to outline your goals for conserving your land.
  • Step 3 – Contact our team to set up a time for us to come visit your property! From there, we will talk about your goals and determine our next steps.

For more detailed + technical information about each step, please download a Landowner Information Packet.

If you would like to discuss your land or have questions, we’d love to speak with you. Send us your questions and comments below.


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