The Pinelands Commission has developed numerous land-use initiatives that permanently protect land. Land protection is most important in the following four conservation-oriented Management Areas: Preservation Area, Forest Area, Special Agriculture Production Area, and Agriculture Protection Area. The Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) designates lower intensity maximum standards governing the distribution and intensity of development and land use in these Management Areas in order to properly protect them.
New scientific studies sometimes reveal areas that deserve even more protection. For example, in all areas where zone density is low, and therefore indicative of a resource worth protecting, fee-simple acquisition of land or purchasing conservation easements are two possible methods of land protection. In Preservation Areas, Special Production Agricultural Areas, and Agriculture Production Areas, severing and transferring Pinelands Development Credits is a method of permanently protecting the land. In Rural Development Areas and Forest Areas, municipalities can use Density Transfer Programs to direct development to particular “receiving” areas, while protecting more sensitive “sending” areas. Some lots are too small to develop or transfer due to the current zoning. The owners of these lots may be offered relief through the Limited Practical Use Program.
There are also Pinelands Commission sponsored initiatives that focus on particular areas of concern. These Regional Resource Protection projects are long-term projects that fully involve the stakeholders in the region, including government officials, scientists, and non-profit organizations. The first such effort was in 2004 the Toms River Corridor in Jackson and Manchester Townships, Ocean County. The second effort started in 2004 and continues today in Medford and Evesham Townships, Burlington County. A third effort has also been stated in the Mullica and Hamilton involving the Elwood Corridor.
In order to ensure a greater level of protection for the unique resources of the Pinelands Area, the Pinelands Conservation Fund (Fund) was established in 2004. Six million dollars of the Fund's initial proceeds have been dedicated to permanently protect important natural, cultural, historic and agricultural resources through the purchase of land and/or easements in the Pinelands Area. The Pinelands Commission has contracted with Conservation Resources, Inc. (CRI) to facilitate this program. CRI will identify acquisition opportunities, present recommendations and finalize purchases.