Land conservation benefits both property owners and the environment


Land conservation has many benefits – not just for the environment, but for the landowner as well. North Florida Land Trust, a nonprofit land conservation organization, recently identified more than 112,000 acres of land that are in critical need of preservation, which is vital to our environmental health and beneficial to the economy.

North Florida Land Trust is working to preserve these lands. Funded largely by private and corporate contributions, the organization is committed to protecting and preserving ecologically, agriculturally and historically significant lands throughout Northeast Florida to ensure they will be protected and enjoyed by future generations. NFLT acquires land either through donations or purchases of both land and conservations easements. A conservation easement ensures the land will never be developed; ownership resides with the donor and still allows for farming or recreation.

A private landowner can receive financial advantages by preserving land through the North Florida Land Trust. Land donors can take a 50 percent deduction from their annual income for up to 16 years. Qualifying farmers and ranchers who donate conservation easements, meanwhile, can deduct up to 100 percent of their income for up to 16 years. Placing an easement on your land may also lower or even eliminate your property tax bill.

Many property owners have concerns as to how their land will be used after their death. A conservation easement ensures the property will not be developed in the future. It also provides relief from the estate tax. If the tax advantages of donating an easement are not of interest, there is also the potential that a local, state, or federal government program may be able to pay for the purchase of land or a conservation easement. NFLT can assist with that transaction.

Planned giving

Planned gifts also have benefits to NFLT and the donor. Planned gifts provide the resources to create extraordinary opportunities and preserve North Florida’s legacy. With a planned gift, a donor can make a substantial gift commitment to benefit NFLT and receive meaningful tax and financial benefits for themselves and their heirs. Planned gifts include a bequest, charitable gift annuity, charitable remainder trust, charitable lead trust, life insurance, life estate, real estate and retirement assets. Most gifts provide a variety of tax benefits such as tax-free income, avoidance of capital gains tax, increased charitable contribution deduction and potential estate tax savings.

Another way to help NFLT’s mission is through volunteering. Professionals in biology, law, finance, research, management, administration, bookkeeping and more can give their time as professional advisors, committee members or board members. Volunteers who appreciate nature, value the mission and enjoy participating in events and outdoor opportunities are also important to NFLT. As landowners, the organization needs volunteers to help maintain trails, docks and other structures, and assist in monitoring land. NFLT hosts clean-ups and landscaping workdays. Volunteers also assist with outreach and facilitate fundraising. 

For more information on how to become part of the effort to preserve our natural heritage, visit