Landowners interested in protecting their land can choose the conservation technique that best matches their situation.
- Donating or Selling Land to a nonprofit conservation organization or government entity.
- Placing a Conservation Restriction (CR) on a property. A CR is a voluntary, legal agreement that allows landowners to retain ownership of their property while permanently restricting most development activities. The CR may, however, permit activities such as farming, forestry, and hiking. The provisions of the CR become part of the property deed and pass to new owners in perpetuity.
- Creating a Reserved Life Estate allows a landowner and his or her beneficiaries to use the property during their lifetimes or for a specified period of time. At the end of that time, ownership is transferred to a land trust.
- Donating Land by Bequest allows a landowner to use and enjoy the land and ensures the land will be conserved if it doesn't need to be sold during the landowner's lifetime.
In addition to these permanent options, some Massachusetts landowners reduce their local real estate taxes by putting their land in a Chapter 61 program. This Massachusetts program allows owners of working farms, forests, and recreation land to pay reduced property taxes in exchange for keeping the land undeveloped for a specified period.
See below for Publications and Resources that can provide more information.
We are always willing to discuss your conservation options with you and point you toward the best resources for your situation. Contact information for our Land Protection staff is listed on the Contact SVT page.
- Protecting Your Property While Conveying Ownership
- Protecting Your Property While Maintaining Ownership
- Protecting Your Property with a Conservation Restriction
- Tax Benefits of Conservation Giving
- Commonwealth Conservation Land Tax Credit (CLCT)
- Chapter 61 Programs: Understanding the Massachusetts Ch. 61 Current Use Tax Programs by MA DCR & UMass Extension
UMass Amherst Keystone Cooperators Project
Keystone Cooperators are landowners and community leaders who can help you find the resources you need to achieve your conservation goals. Keystone Cooperators have training in forest ecology, land protection, forest management, and wildlife habitat. They are not conservation professionals but are peers who can share their knowledge with you.
Local and Regional Land Trusts
The website of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition (MLTC) lists more than 170 land trusts and organizations in the Commonwealth that can help you understand your conservation options and work with you to protect your land.
Service Providers: Attorneys, Surveyors, Accounts, etc.
The MLTC website also lists professionals and service providers who can help you navigate the intricacies of land conservation. Find a service provider.