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The Importance of Private Lands

New Mexico has 77 million acres of land, about half of which is privately owned. Much of the wildlife habitat, rivers and glorious open space in New Mexico are in private ownership.

Privately owned working lands, especially, play an essential role by providing much of the food, fiber and water upon which we depend for healthy lives and economies in the Southwest.

Much of our public lands in New Mexico are intermingled with parcels of privately owned land in a “checkerboard” pattern of ownership. Land conservation on private lands help buffer, consolidate and facilitate the management of these public lands which are also facing increasing pressures and demands.

Private landowners today are being asked to hold onto this open space not only for their own reasons, but also for public benefit. That’s why conservation easements offer landowners potential tax incentives and benefits in exchange for giving up the development rights on their land.


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