What is Conservation Burial?


An environmentally friendly alternative to conventional burials.

Conservation burial, as introduced by Dr. Billy Campbell at Ramsey Creek Preserve (Saving One Million Acres for Two Thousand Years: Billy Campbell at TEDxGreenville in South Carolina), is a practice that combines natural burials with land conservation.

This innovative approach aims to use burial practices as a means to conserve and restore land, offering an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional burials. Here's a breakdown of the key aspects of conservation burial:

Natural Burials

 In conservation burials, the green burial approach is used. That is, the body is not embalmed and is buried in a biodegradable casket or shroud, with no concrete vault or fiberglass liner, using far less resources and footprint. This method fosters the natural decomposition process, allowing the body to return to the earth naturally.

Land Conservation

The fees paid for conservation burials contribute to the acquisition, protection, and restoration of the natural landscapes where burials take place. This includes a perpetual conservation easement, ensuring that the land will be preserved indefinitely, protecting ecosystems and providing habitats for wildlife.

Ecosystem Restoration

Conservation burial sites engage in active efforts to restore and enhance the natural ecosystems where they are located. This may include planting native species, removing invasive plants, repairing damaged lands, and undertaking other restoration projects to increase watershed function, biodiversity, and ecological health.


Conservation burial sites are managed with sustainable practices that respect the surrounding environment. This can include the maintenance of trails, the use of natural markers instead of traditional headstones, and other practices that minimize human impact on the land.


While emphasizing ecological benefits, conservation burials also offer a meaningful and personal way for loved ones to remember the deceased. The natural setting provides a serene and beautiful space for reflection and remembrance.

From the conservation burial alliance

Conservation Burial

"The goals of conservation burial are myriad—to set aside intrinsically valuable land for nature's sake and our own, to restore land that has been subject to man's misuse to one of balance and abundance, to maximize opportunities to engage authentically with nature at a profound moment in the lives of those who have experienced loss—and the list goes on.

To say that natural burial is simply interment in the ground without toxic chemicals, precious wooden or metal caskets, and cement vaults is both accurate and simplistic at the same time.

​Conservation burial, at its core, is about the creation and support of multidimensional social and ecological spaces that sustain us as they sustain the planet and all who dwell on it.

For those seeking to expand protected lands through conservation burial, leaving a legacy for future generations is a key motivator.

​Equally important to those poised to receive the benefits of protected space is the promise of enhanced connection of human and natural communities."