The Forest Legacy and Minnesota Forests for the Future programs protect environmentally important private forests by purchasing conservation easements or the property using funds from state, federal, and private sources. Private forests provide an array of public benefits, including wildlife habitat, clean water, recreational opportunities, timber, and other forest products.
Landowners sell or donate a conservation easement to make sure their land will never be developed or converted to another use. Easements are tied to the land and not to the owners so that the property remains in a natural state no matter who owns it in the future. Fee title purchases of property are less common. The state purchases properties from willing landowners to prevent the conversion of forests to nonforest uses.