According to this article, the number of land trusts increased 32% between 2000 and 2005. Many expect that trend to continue due to this recession.
"This legal device makes good use of the dictum that says you have to give something to get something - in return for losing potential profit by preserving natural features, the landowner gets a tax break.
These easements are usually between a private landowner and a public or government agency that restricts the amount and type of development and protects the property's natural resources in perpetuity.
It's not a new concept. Thomas Tyner, regional counsel for the Northwest and Rocky Mountain region of the Trust for Public Land in Seattle, says the first conservation easement occurred in New England around the mid- to late 1800s."