Publications Related to Land Conservation

Publications and Resources related to land trusts, conservation easements, and land conservation in Texas and beyond.
  • Conserving Texas: Quantifying Ecological Return on Investment – Proactive measures to protect the ecological and economic gains held in our open spaces are critical to ensuring a prosperous future for our state. Land conservation supports numerous economic benefits for Texas while protecting wildlife habitat, enhancing water resources, preserving working agricultural and forest lands, and providing public access to outdoor recreational areas. The goal of this report is to better understand the current benefits and need for financial investment in our state’s natural resources to best support our growing state population, thriving economy, and healthy landscape.
  • Conservation Easements: A Guide for Texas Landowners – This guide is provided by the Texas Land Trust Council and was updated in 2018.  A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and conservation organization that places restrictions on specified future land uses or development. These agreements are tailored to meet both the practical needs of the landowner and their wishes for conserving the land and its resources. Read our guide to learn more about this important private lands conservation tool and to view fifteen different examples of unique conservation easement projects across the state.
  • Texas Ecosystem Services- A Statewide Assessment – Promoting the long-term sustainability and stewardship of natural resources begins with a basic understanding of ecosystem services and their public benefits—and, ideally, the ability to assign monetary value can illustrate the importance of contributions to society. This information can serve to support land conservation strategies and policies to promote the conservation of open spaces and natural resources. Thus, the objectives of this report are to (1) provide examples of broad ecosystem services, and (2) estimate their relative economic value or level of current investments.
  • Valuing the Economic Benefits of Texas Conservation Lands This report and infographic, produced by Siglo Group in partnership with the Texas Land Trust Council, quantifies the value of lands and conservation easements that have been conserved by or with assistance from the Texas land trust community. The study found that the more than 1.6 Million acres of lands put into conservation with the help of Texas land trusts are estimated to provide more than $1 billion in benefits to Texas taxpayers each year. These reports explain how the lands conserved by land trusts in Texas provide enormous natural and economic benefits to Texas for flood mitigation, water resource protection, agricultural production and wildlife habitat. The full report details the background, data, metrics, analysis and conclusions, while the infographic provides a visual summary of the results.
  • Texas Farm & Ranch Lands Conservation Program 2020 Evaluation Report – This special report by the Texas A&M University Natural Resources Institute evaluates the ecologial and economic benefits, and overall success of this statewide grant program. Research highlights and calculates public benefits of making investments in land conservation, supporting rural economies, the provision of natural goods and services, as well as the financial efficiency of the program.
  • Conservation Easements in Texas – This special Texas Land Trends series report by the Texas A&M University Natural Resources Institute describes the state’s current participation and growing need for land conservation easements. In this report, the TAMU NRI assesses the value of all conservation easement acres in Texas within three broad categories of ecosystem services to describe the significant impact these lands have on the state’s economy.
  • Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program – The statewide program to preserve natural resources by permanently conserving private, working lands to protect them from fragmentation and development. TFRLCP maintains and enhances the ecological and agricultural productivity of these lands through the use of conservation easements,  supporting the responsible stewardship and conservation of working lands, water, fish and wildlife, and agricultural production.
  • Condemnation Guide for Texas Land Trusts – This document, provided by the Texas Land Trust Council, is intended to provide information and guidance for Texas land trust board and staff members who are dealing with the potential threat of condemnation on their conservation lands. It is not a substitute for legal advice and TLTC recommends consulting an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
  • Protecting the Investment: Conservation Easements and Condemnation – Additional information provided by the Texas Land Trust Council related to the condemnation of conservation lands.
  • Conservation Easement Outline –  This document provides a general outline of the parties, recitals, and provisions contained within a conservation easement document.
  • Land Trust Standards and Practices – This information is provided by the Land Trust Alliance. The Standards and Practices represent the ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust. The Land Trust Alliance drafted the first Standards in 1989 at the urging of land trusts and to affirm certain best practices as the surest way to secure lasting conservation. To maintain the land trust community’s strength, credibility and effectiveness, the Standards were updated in 1993, 2001 and 2004, and 2017.
  • Land Trust Accreditation Requirements Manual – This document is provided by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The Accreditation Requirements Manual: A Land Trust’s Guide to Understanding Key Elements of Accreditation helps land trusts to understand and achieve success in the accreditation process. It is a guide for land trusts, providing information on each of the requirements evaluated as part of the accreditation process, and was last updated March 2018.
  • Texas Land Trust Council 2024 – 2028  Strategic Plan – This strategic planning document provides general organizational guidance and prioritization to the large array of programs and activities that the Council will seek to undertake over the five-year period from January 2024 through December 2028. We also provide a link to our most recent TLTC Annual Report.