Since 1971 the Nature Trust has acquired a portfolio of lands that includes fee simple ownership, long term leases on crown land and a number of conservation covenants.
Securement tools include:
Fee Simple Acquisition
This means that The Nature Trust owns the land, which is the most secure form of conserving the land. There are a variety of ways that The Nature Trust gains ownership of land. In many cases it can be a combination of mechanisms:
- land purchase,
- land donation, and/or
- transactions involving a partial donation with a cash purchase of the remaining fee simple title interest.
There are instances in which land owners have sold and/or donated land to The Nature Trust and have also retained a right to use the land. This has been done through a life estate.
Donations of land may be gifted to The Nature Trust under the federal Ecological Gifts Program. There are increased tax benefits to the donor, however the donation must comply with the eco-gift requirements.
Conservation covenants provide an alternate approach to conserving habitat that does not involve the expense of acquiring the land fee simple.
A conservation covenant is a partial interest in land. It is a legally binding agreement voluntarily entered into between the landowner and The Nature Trust to restrict the use of the land to protect the conservation values of the property. The conservation covenant is registered against the title of the land and remains on the title no matter who subsequently owns the property. The conservation covenant is a tool that does not require the amount of money required to purchase a property, however it is management intensive for the holder of the covenant to conduct the required monitoring. As such, The Nature Trust will seek an endowment to support the ongoing management responsibilities of the conservation covenant.
The Nature Trust only receives conservation covenants as donations.
Donations of land or conservation covenants may also be gifted to The Nature Trust under the federal Ecological Gifts Program. There are increased tax benefits to the donor, however the donation must comply with the eco-gift requirements.
Leases and Licenses
The Nature Trust is also responsible for overseeing the grazing management of 47,000 hectares (116,000 acres) of habitat under long-term lease or grazing license related to the South Okanagan Biodiversity Ranches.