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 5: Conservation covenants

Colin T. Reid and Walters Nsoh

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


Conservation covenants (or easements) involve landowners agreeing that the use of their land will be restricted in some way so as to further conservation. Such agreements are binding not just on the original party but on future landowners as well, potentially in perpetuity. Covenants can act as a conservation device in their own right or as a means of giving legal shape to the obligations underlying arrangements for the payment for ecosystem services or biodiversity offsetting. Such schemes operate as a matter of private law, and design issues to be addressed include how such agreements can be enforced; the duration of such covenants; the extent to which they can be modified or terminated (by the parties alone, through the involvement of a public body or subject to some form of external scrutiny); and how best to draft such agreements to cope with our increasingly dynamic environment. Lessons can be learnt from current proposals in England and experience in the United States, where the shape of easements is affected by the desire to attract charitable status and hence tax relief.

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