Conservation Easements in a Changing Climate


Posted: 22 Jul 2019 Last revised: 29 Mar 2021

See all articles by Laurie Ristino

Laurie Ristino

The Johns Hopkins University

Jessica Jay

Vermont Law School; University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Adena R. Rissman

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Date Written: October 17, 2017


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. Below we present a transcript of the discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

Keywords: conservation easements, climate change, adaptation, mitigation

Suggested Citation

Ristino, Laurie and Jay, Jessica and Rissman, Adena R., Conservation Easements in a Changing Climate (October 17, 2017). ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REPORTER 9-2017, Available at SSRN: or

Laurie Ristino (Contact Author)

The Johns Hopkins University ( email )

Baltimore, MD 20036-1984
United States

HOME PAGE: http://

Jessica Jay

Vermont Law School ( email )

68 North Windsor Street
P.O. Box 60
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States

Adena R. Rissman

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States


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