Conservation-Based Estate Planning: Toward a Sustainable Future for Private Lands

Paul A. Roth, Allyson B. Muth, Alexander L. Metcalf, James C. Finley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Landowners who seek to manage ownership transitions while preserving conservation-related values must engage in the notoriously complex process of estate planning. Most scholarship on conservation-based estate planning has been undertaken from landowner perspectives, seeking to understand why some succeed whereas others do not. Here, we expand this scholarship by including perspectives from professional planners. Combining their insights with past literature, we offer a framework of conservation-based estate planning that describes and normalizes key elements within stages of the process. Interview results emphasized the unique needs of conservation-based estate planning around non-monetary values, the relational nature of the planning process, and the temporal challenges and disruptive life events landowners commonly confront while planning. Our findings synthesize the extant literature, raise questions and needs for future work, and empower landowners, planners, and natural resource professionals to persevere through this difficult process and achieve their conservation-related goals from which we all benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-882
Number of pages18
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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