Over one million acres of farms, woods and other rural lands are converted to development every year in the United States. As a result, we threaten the reliability of our water supply, inflate the cost of infrastructure, destroy the habitat of our fellow species, heighten wildfire risks, reduce our ability to grow food locally, accelerate our energy demand, erase our sense of place and complicate our efforts to create vibrant, efficient, people-friendly communities. Preservation of environmental areas, farmland and other open space is essential to building whole, sustainable communities. It is also one of the ten principles of smart growth. But sprawl is overwhelming conventional techniques like zoning and tax-based land acquisition. The survival of our countrysides now requires farsighted vision, renewed commitment, creative partnerships and innovative use of a wide range of preservation tools. SmartPreservation.net reports on these smart preservation efforts from around the country to help communities achieve a better balance between their development and preservation goals.