Land trusts hold large pieces of land for a specified purpose. Because the ownership is unlikely to change in the near future, land trusts remove the land from real estate speculation and keep costs to potential leasees low.
Community land trusts provide long-term affordable housing by purchasing land and allowing potential homeowners to purchase housing on that land. The land trust retains the option to buy back the home when the owner is selling it. In the sale, the former owner may receive reduced profits from the appreciation of the house and the land.
Conservation land trusts take collective ownership of land in order to preserve sensitive natural areas, farmland, ranchland, water sources, or landmarks. These include large international organizations such as The Nature Conservancy as well as smaller organizations at national, state/provincial, and community levels.