For many private landowners, the protection of nature's complicated and beautiful web is not something that happens somewhere else, in a park or a distant reserve. It is something that happens on their property, day in and day out. They see themselves as stewards of the land, safeguarding the natural pieces and processes during their time on the land, until it passes into other hands.

That passing on, however, has always caused great concern for private land stewards. A life's work could be undone by the careless or short-sighted actions of a future landholder. In the past, the only option that provided some measure of conservation security was to donate the land outright to the government to be converted to a park - an option many private landowners dislike for various reasons.

For the last century, landowners across North America have turned to conservation easements to solve this dilemma.

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