The Santa Lucia Conservancy’s conservation easements support The Preserve’s incredible value. The easements preserve “Protected Values” of importance to the public trust, which include “Natural, Scenic, Ecological, Cultural, Open Space, Agricultural, Scientific and Aesthetic” values.
These easements ensure the Conservancy and Landowners will protect the land from a deeply integrated and multifaceted approach. An old growth oak tree, with its towering trunk and arching branches, is not only protected as part of the natural landscape; it is also a matriarch within its ecological community, supplying food and habitat for other species and managing micro-climate. Oaks hold secrets – why do oaks mast (produce an overabundance of acorns) some years and not others? how will California’s changing climate effect the trees’ recruitment? – that compel its protection as scientific asset. To the Rumsen Ohlone indigenous to The Preserve, acorns have tremendous traditional value, and so the protection of that very same tree will also consider cultural significance. Finally, few would argue that the oak’s beauty calls for its aesthetic preservation.