All about conservation burial

4 min read

Important facts about conservation burials

  • Conservation burial is burial in on lands owned by a recognized conservation land trust

  • They are intended to maintain the status of protected lands by preventing them from being developed.

  • Conservation burial grounds require strict green practices, including no embalming or other chemicals and simple shrouds or caskets.

  • There are still very few in the country, but are becoming more popular

As more people become concerned with the environment and how to better protect it, many are opting for more Earth-friendly burial methods. The vast majority of burials are still traditional, but there is an increasing interest in interments that have a positive impact, such as conservation burial.

Whether your loved one has requested a conservation burial or you are simply interested in knowing whether it is the option your family wants, here is a bit of information about conservation burials.

How conservation burials work

Unlike traditional burials, conservation burials take the preservation of land as their highest priority. As in all green burials, the body is not embalmed and is placed into the ground in either a biodegradable shroud or a simple casket with no chemical treatments. It’s about becoming part of the earth for all time and contributing to the planet’s health instead of further polluting it, allowing the body to release beneficial nutrients into the soil, like carbon, potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus — components that aid in combating climate change.

Conservation burial, however, is about more than just returning naturally to the earth. These burials can only take place on lands owned by a recognized conservation land trust, and are specifically intended to help maintain the status of protected lands by making it impossible for them to be changed or developed.

Conservation burial is a contribution to the restoration, protection, and maintenance of the land.

The burial plot that you or your family purchases, therefore, doesn’t just give your loved one a final resting place; it is a contribution to the restoration, protection, and maintenance of the land. You can rest assured knowing that your loved one will be buried on protected ground that will remain in its natural state after the burial, land that will continue to be part of the community as a land trust area where ecological responsibility is paramount.

Where to find conservation burial grounds

While conservation burials are gaining in popularity, they are still quite rare, and so you may have to do a bit of research to find an appropriate burial site. Along with important information about its mission and the benefits of conservation burial, the Conservation Burial Alliance has a list of available conservation burial grounds. Only these land trust entities have been officially recognized for this purpose, and so only they can guarantee that the land will be preserved and cared for over time.

Cost of a conservation burial

Traditional funerals usually start around $7,000, and depending on how elaborate you want the ceremony and how fancy the casket, expenses can balloon quickly. Conservation burial, on the other hand, is as easy on the wallet as it is on the environment.

Although the cost will vary by location, and can depend on the services you include, conservation burials avoid most of the more costly elements of traditional funerals. The biggest expense is the amount you pay for the upkeep of the land so both flora and fauna can continue to flourish without disturbance.

Potential drawbacks

While conservation burials have a lot of positive aspects for those with eco-conscious values, there are still some possible issues to consider. As there are currently so few official conservation burial land trusts, you may not be able easily to find a location that works for you, depending on where you are and where your loved one passed away. Even if you want to transport your loved one to a more distant location, you may have to contend with the state laws of the areas you pass through, as some will not allow passage to non-embalmed remains.

In addition, if you live at a distance from the closest potential conservation burial ground, you may find that you do not want to be so far removed from your loved one’s final resting place and unable to visit often. Finally, many such burial grounds have strict rules concerning headstones; they generally must be simple markers that come from the immediate area. If you find that you want a traditional headstone as a place to visit your loved one, conservation burial might not be the best choice for you and your family.

These few considerations aside, however, conservation burial may be a good option for those who want to celebrate and preserve the Earth even after they have passed away.

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