A short newsletter of bite-size ideas to chew on for Terrafirma owner-member land trusts, released January, February, May, June, September, October and November.


Posts tagged conflict management

All Together Now

Last month we wrote about common problem areas relating to division, and how no-division clauses can help. Here is why avoiding division is crucial not just for the easement’s habitat, scenic values and wildlife, but for your organization:

  • More owners means more chance of management related conflicts.
  • Property divisions within a conservation easement increase costs and burdens of extra monitoring and enforcement, including more paperwork. 
  • Subdivisions increase the number of landowners the land trust is responsible for maintaining relationships with; if a land trust is not able to devote enough resources towards landowner relationships and communications, violation risk increases.
  • Studies show that more landowners means more risk of violations generally. This is why Terrafirma will always count parcels with different owners separately.

Have questions about easement division violations or anything else? Please let us know. You can e-mail us directly or call 202-800-2248.



When to turn off the nice switch

When should you consult an attorney on a problem you’re experiencing with a land owner? Some wait until a lawsuit is already underway or seems inevitable because of reluctance to involve lawyers. They don’t want to seem aggressive, or compromise a collaborative violation resolution.

However, earlier outside legal perspective can help you get the tone just right when resolving a dispute: not too nice and not too harsh. It can also help you avoid simple mistakes that can become serious obstacles later. Read “When to Turn off the Nice Switch” [note: this has since been updated to "Knowing When to Shift Gears"] to learn more, and find a perfect balance.

Have questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri, 202-800-2248 for myself or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.



Please forward this to your stewardship, land management or legal staff, or anyone else who you think would find this useful!


When the Board Walks the Plank

Board members and staff don’t always agree — especially in the nonprofit world where passion and idealism can turn ordinary meetings into potential conflict.

To help navigate choppy waters, the Land Trust Alliance is offering a complimentary webinar today at 3 p.m. Eastern on Directors and Officers insurance, as well as many other types of insurance, to help you plan for conflict and missteps that can lead to a full-fledged lawsuit. To sign up, please send us an email.

Have questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri, 202-800-2248 for myself or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.

P.S. Terrafirma’s Annual Meeting took place in Burlington, Vermont on May 4th and was productive and successful! Pictured below: the hardworking volunteer committee members who devote their time and skill to making Terrafirma work for all 493 of its member land trusts.



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