Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Nikoi Kote-Nikoi


This capstone research aims to explore the possibilities of an association between changes in the fair market value of landed properties and their proximity to land parcels containing conservation easements. The study attempts to provide a greater understanding of how conservation easements provide benefits to Vermont municipalities. These benefits are described as ecosystem services, and their value was proxied by increases in the fair market value of transferred real-estate located within two distinct radiuses of the conserved land.

The study focuses on two specific properties located in the towns of Marshfield and East Montpelier. For each town, four separate datasets were created depicting five year time intervals, before and after conservation occurred, as well as location proximity of two and six mile distances to the target conservation land for Marshfield and two and four mile distances to the target conservation land for East Montpelier. For the town of Marshfield, the data presented a positive association between the increased property transfer values and proximity to the target conservation land. For the town of East Montpelier, it was discovered that despite an overall downward trend in property transfer values between the two time intervals, the parcels located within two miles of the conservation land decreased in value to a lesser extent than those further than 2 miles away.

The research findings present an interesting opportunity for further discussion surrounding the association of property values and proximity to existing conservation land within the state of Vermont, but this study suggests that in addition to the preservation of ecosystem services there exist actual quantifiable monetary benefits for land conservation to the municipalities of central Vermont.


Land Use Law | Natural Resources and Conservation | Politics and Social Change | Property Law and Real Estate


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