The Privatisation of Biodiversity?

The Privatisation of Biodiversity?

New Approaches to Conservation Law

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Colin T. Reid and Walters Nsoh

Current regulatory approaches have not prevented the loss of biodiversity across the world. This book explores the scope to strengthen conservation by using different legal mechanisms such as biodiversity offsetting, payment for ecosystem services and conservation covenants, as well as tradable development rights and taxation. The authors discuss how such mechanisms introduce elemhents of a market approach as well as private sector initiative and resources. They show how examples already in operation serve to highlight the design challenges, legal, technical and ethical, that must be overcome if these mechanisms are to be effective and widely accepted.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Colin T. Reid and Walters Nsoh

Subjects: environment, environmental governance and regulation, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law

Abstract

Globally we are failing to halt the loss of biodiversity while at the same time coming to realise the many ways in which the natural world provides us with a range of very valuable ecosystem services. Traditional laws of property have given little recognition to nature and we have largely resorted to ‘command and control’ techniques when trying to regulate our impact on biodiversity (e.g. designating protected sites and species). Across environmental regulation, however, there is growing interest in and use of other, market-based techniques, such as trading and offset schemes, as a means of addressing environmental problems. Such an approach might be applied in relation to biodiversity as well. There are, however, challenges in doing so and some critics would argue that this would amount to an unacceptable commodification of nature. The remaining chapters of this book examine pervasive issues affecting the use of a market-based approach for biodiversity conservation, explore the key legal mechanisms that might be employed, consider the challenges in designing effective and efficient schemes and reflect on some of the ethical debates on their use.