Land Protection Methods

Property owners are entitled to a set of rights, often referred to as a bundle of sticks, which can include development rights, water rights, mineral rights or timber rights. Selling or giving away certain rights while retaining others is like pulling a single stick out of the bundle. A landowner may sell or give away the whole bundle of rights or just one or two of the bundle’s rights, through methods such as fee simple acquisition, conservation easements, purchase of development rights, leases, management agreements and mutual covenants.

Conservation Easements

The most effective and popular tools for ensuring family lands are protected in perpetuity is the conservation easement. A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement that a landowner may enter into with a qualified conservation organization like a land trust, restricting particular development and uses of the landowner’s property in order to protect certain natural resources.

Fee Simple Acquisition

Among the most straightforward means by which to protect family lands is through fee simple acquisition. With fee simple acquisition, a landowner sells his or her rights, title and interest in the property to a conservation buyer, who then owns and manages the land.

Historic Preservation Easement

Similar to conservation easements, historic preservation easements are easements that aim to preserve historic or cultural properties, historic landscapes, battlefields, traditional cultural places or archaeological sites.

Purchase Development Rights

The purchase of development rights (PDR) is similar to a conservation easement in that development rights are stripped from the property. It essentially involves selling one of the sticks in the landowner’s bundle of sticks.

Management Agreements

Management agreements are increasingly common for land protection measures on large, working farms and ranches. Management agreements are entered into mutually between the landowner and the land trust and allow both parties to plan for the long-term protection of the property.

Mutual Covenants

The use of mutual covenants typically occurs in circumstances where several landowners mutually agree to protect certain conservation values on their collective properties. A land trust is not necessarily involved in mutual covenants.

Opportunities for Landowners

Ranching Into the Future Workshops

Ranching and farming in Arizona are essential to maintaining local and regional agricultural economies and preserving rural heritage and culture. In addition, “working landscapes” help sustain plant and wildlife habitat, streams, springs and our desert rivers

Ranchland Protection Fund

The Family Ranchland Protection Fund provides services to those landowners who wish to protect their farms and ranches. Utilizing a diverse team of qualified professionals, the Fund allows the Trust to provide tools families can use to make informed decisions.

Water Transactions

As the first water trust in Arizona, our Desert Rivers Program continues to lead the way in tailoring solutions for farmers and ranchers and the environment as we protect Arizona’s streams and rivers.