Land trusts, other conservation organizations and government agencies may choose to protect land by acquiring the property they wish to protect. The acquisition of the land (fee title or fee simple) allows the conservation owner to manage the property to preserve and protect its conservation values. The land can be acquired by purchase, donation or a combination of the two. If a private landowner donates the land to a qualified non-profit such as a land trust or to a government agency, the private donor may be able to deduct the value of the donation as tax-deductible charitable gift.

If a land trust acquires the land, the land trust may retain ownership of the property as a permanent preserve or transfer the property to a suitable owner, such as a government agency. In some cases, the land is sold to a private owner, subject to a conservation easement held by the land trust. Proceeds from such a sale could fund the land trust’s long-term management of the conservation easement and/or help it to protect even more land.