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Conservation Easements in a Changing Climate

September 2017

Citation: 47 ELR 10731

Issue: 9

Author: Laurie A. Ristino, Jessica E. Jay, Adena Rissman, and Erik Meyers

Conservation easements are increasingly being used both for traditional conservation purposes and as a tool for critical climate change mitigation and adaptation. Because land use decisions are generally made at the local level, environmental and conservation stakeholders should consider using easements as a hedge against inactive or regressive federal policy as well as against the stressors from our warming climate. On May 17, 2017, ELI convened a seminar around the book A Changing Landscape: The Conservation Easement Reader (ELI Press, 2016), which excerpts leading articles and reports to illuminate various aspects of conservation easements. This discussion provided valuable information and strategies for maintaining the integrity of conservation easements in perpetuity while creating flexibility to address the dynamic threats of climate change. This Dialogue presents a transcript of the discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

Laurie A. Ristino (moderator) is the Director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems and an Associate Professor of Law at Vermont Law School. Jessica E. Jay is a founder and Principal Attorney at Conservation Law, P.C., and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Vermont Law School and Denver University’s Sturm College of Law. Adena Rissman is the Associate Professor of Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Management in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Erik Meyers is Vice President for Climate and Water Sustainability for The Conservation Fund.

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