The most common way to protect land is by “conservation easement.” A conservation easement (also known as a conservation restriction or conservation agreement) is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its
A land trust is a nonprofit organization that, as all or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting in land or conservation easement acquisition, by its stewardship of such land or easements, or by encouraging or assisting with good land-use practices.
Conservation easements protect the land from future exploitation such as surface mining, toxic waste dumping, or subdivision for residential or commercial activities. Under a conservation easement, the landowner retains ownership and use of the land, as well as the right to decide which activities will be allowed.
When an asset, such as land, is transferred from one person to another in exchange for something less than full value, then it has been transferred for less than “full consideration” and is likely considered a gift.