PROTECT YOUR OWN LAND
Only 8% of our land is protected. You can do something to make this number grow by establishing a conservation easement or making a land donation. By supporting our Land Conservation Program you’re not only protecting land, you’re securing valuable services that only nature provides us – services we depend on for our very survival.
A Conservation Easement is a legal mechanism that allows any landowner to actively preserve his lands. By establishing a conservation easement, the landowner retains the title and rights of the property, while agreeing to certain legal restrictions over the land, in exchange for its perpetual protection. These voluntary restrictions are carefully discussed with the owner and may include limiting land uses, development or segregation of the property, among others.
Land Donation for conservation purposes is another
mechanism where the owner of land with important ecological value can contribute to the preservation of the islands of Puerto Rico.
The Conservation Easement Law, Act No. 183, December 2001, as amended, contains important tax benefits to those who donate land or establish a conservation easement. For more information about the Conservation Trust’s Conservation Easements and Land Donations Program, please contact us at (787)722-5834 x 253 or 268, or write to us at:
The Conservation Trust of P.R. is a private, non-profit organization, with tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) and Section 509(a)(3) of the US Internal Revenue Code, and under Section 1101 of the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code.
The Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico (The “Trust”) was awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission on February of 2012 and is one of 254 land trusts from across the United States that has been awarded accreditation since the fall of 2008. Within this rigorous accreditation process, the Trust had to meet and adopted 12 standards and 88 legal, ethical and technical practices for the responsible operation of a land trust.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission is an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance that recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working land forever. Accredited land trusts are able to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent.
The accreditation seal lets the public know that the Trust has undergone an extensive, external review of the governance and management of its organization and the systems and policies it uses to protect land.
The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission requires that all land trusts monitors its easements properties regularly, at least annually, in a manner appropriate to the size and restrictions of each property, and keeps documentation (such as reports, updates photographs and maps) of each monitoring activity.
The Trust, through the organization Para la Naturaleza, conducts frequent monitoring actions on all is conservation easements. Para la Naturaleza manages all visitor centers and natural areas protected by the Trust, including conservation easements. It’s monitoring activities at conservation easements include:
- general visual inspections of the property;
- on-the-ground physical visits of boundary limits;
- photographic documentation of management issues problems, such as trespass, misuse, overuse, vandalism or safety hazards;
- assuring compliance with easement’s covenants, restrictions, and reserved rights; and
- identifying maintenance requirements of property’s roads, boundary fences, signs, and access gates.
Monitoring activities are conducted by staff from Para la Naturaleza’s Natural Protected Areas Division. These include biologist, ecologists, Regional Superintendents, Auxiliary Superintendents and Management Assistants, among others.
As a direct result of the Trust’s organization evaluation using the Land Trust Alliance’s Standards and Practices, the Trust established new monitoring documentation requirements for all its conservation easements on September 2010. Specifically it adopted a new monitoring report template for all conservation easements in compliance with the desirable contents for the monitoring reports recommended in the Land Trust Accreditation Commission’s Guide and Land Trust Alliance’s Standards and Practices.
Para la Naturaleza’s staff in charge of the specific monitoring visits are responsible for writing and signing the monitoring reports. This report is sent to the easements’ Regional Superintendent for evaluation and approval. The results of these monitoring reports are sent to the Para la Naturaleza’s Natural Protected Areas Division for review and are also part of the Annual Operational Report that each Regional Superintendent presents to the Para la Naturaleza’s central administration. After the Trust’s new monitoring documentation requirements for conservation easements were adopted, all new annual monitoring reports should also be reviewed and signed by the easement grantor/landowner.