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The land trust community and governments at all levels have become married to conservation easements as their land conservation tool of choice. The numbers speak for themselves: as of the date of this writing, there were reportedly 1,700 land trusts that have protected twelve million acres of land by use of conservation easements. The bulk of this growth both in conservation easements and the land trusts that deploy them has occurred since the 1980s when federal income tax incentives became more fully utilized by conservation easement donors. But the parties to this marriage have become complacent and inattentive in the face of a rapidly changing world resulting from global ecological catastrophes such as climate change and accelerated species extinction.

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