Conserving Land

How to conserve land

The MCT is the only registered charity in our region certified by Revenue Canada and Environment Canada to acquire and assume stewardship responsibilities for conserved property.

There are four ways to conserve land in Quebec:

1. Fee simple donation – Property is protected in perpetuity and the landowner is no longer responsible for real estate taxes. Under the Ecological Gift Program, a charitable receipt is issued for the fair market value of the property, if eligible, which includes federal and provincial tax credits and no capital gains taxes on the donated property.

2. Real conservation servitude – The landowner retains ownership and chooses which parts of his property will be under servitude. Servitude is a legal agreement between a landowner and a conservation organization under which certain activities are restricted (e.g. subdivision, construction of roads, certain forestry activities). Servitudes may also be eligible for the Ecological Gift Program.

3. Nature reserve on private land – The landowner retains ownership and chooses which part of his property will be under reserve status. A nature reserve must have ecological value, and is a legal agreement between a landowner and the MDDEP (Ministère du Développement Durable, de l’Environment et des Parcs) under which certain activities are restricted (same examples as above). Tax benefits include a reduction of municipal taxes and abrogation of school taxes on the reserved land, but do not include income tax credits.

4. Sell the land to a conservation organization – The landowner receives fair market value for the property, but remains liable for capital gains and receives no tax credits.

Once conserved, the land will be protected in perpetuity by the conservation organization.

The MCT will pay for notary fees to transfer land and/or conservation servitudes, land assessment fees to determine fair market value and capital gain, and ecological assessments to help donors qualify for the federal EcoGift Program. The Trust will also pay municipal taxes on conserved land, monitor the health of natural habitats within conserved properties, ensure that donors’ wishes are respected, and maintain up-to-date liability insurance for approved walking and ski and snowshoeing trails, where applicable.

Would you like more information about conserving land with the Massawippi Conservation Trust?