Current use is a tax designation, not a state of land protection. A landowner may elect to put their land in ‘current use’ which means that they pay a lesser tax rate on acreage in exchange for a temporary promise that no development or building take place on those acres. The current use status of a parcel may be changed at any time so that it may be developed, although there is a resulting tax penalty called a land use change tax.
A Conservation Easement, on the other hand, is a permanent and legally binding agreement. When land is protected under an easement, it is protected forever, regardless of changes in ownership etc. What makes conservation land special is this permanent guarantee of protection from development. Enforcing this protection ‘in perpetuity’ (forever), requires the support of an organization or entity which has as its mission to steward that conservation land forever, and that’s where a land trust can come into the picture.