Maps produced by the National Conservation Easement Database provide information on where conservation easements are located, who owns them and the purpose of a given conservation easement. The NCED website provides tools to search, for example, for only federal or agricultural easements.
A conservation easement is an agreement between a landowner and either the government or a land trust that limits the ways in which a property can be developed with the intent of conserving some aspect of the property. Every conservation easement is different, and the details of an easement vary depending on what aspect of the property is being conserved and what the landowner wants to do with the property. As an example, a conservation easement on a property that contains valuable scenery might forbid industrial development but permit continued agricultural development. According to the Land Trust Alliance, properties with easements are also generally expected to provide public benefits.
In exchange for all of these stipulations, landowners can enjoy benefits such as a greatly reduced estate tax on their property, reduced property taxes and other benefits according to the nature of a particular conservation easement. These benefits make conservation easements a popular way of transferring land from one heir to another, especially because a conservation easement "runs with the land," meaning that the agreement applies to the original landholder and all landholders thereafter.