•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Compared to traditional, static conservation easements, dynamic conservation easements capable of accommodating change over time are better suited to serving their unique conservation purposes. As a result, they are more likely to fulfill their promise to protect the land in perpetuity. For the purposes of this Comment, a "static conservation easement" is an easement whose terms provide unchanging land use restrictions. By contrast, a "dynamic conservation easement" is one whose terms provide land use restrictions that may change over time. Part II of the article provides a primer on land trusts and their use of conservation easements and discusses problems that arise from the perpetual nature of conservation easements. Part III examines arguments for and against dynamic conservation easements, illustrates their benefits in the context of working landscapes like timberland, farmland, and ranchland, and discusses the application of adaptive management to dynamic conservation easements. Part IV presents conclusions about the effective use of dynamic conservation easements by land trusts. Throughout the article, examples from the State of Washington will be used to illustrate the relevant principles of law and the realities of development and conservation.