Security and equity of conservation covenants

Contradictions of private protected area policies in Australia

Vanessa Adams, K Moon

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateResearch

    Abstract

    Private land conservation is becoming a popular policy approach, given the constraints of increasing public protected areas, which include reduced availability of land for purchase, insufficient budgets for acquisition, and escalating management costs of small, isolated reserves. Conservation covenants represent a common policy instrument, now prominent in the United States, Canada and Australia, employed to compliment the protected area network. When 'topsoil' and subsoil, or 'mineral' use rights are decoupled, however, the security of covenants can become threatened if the country's economic policies take priority over conservation policies and mining is permitted where covenants exist. We discuss this issue on a theoretical level, examining four potential scenarios in which use rights are decoupled or coupled. We demonstrate that decoupled use rights can create an imbalance in the costs and benefits, to landholders and the government, from conservation and mining activities on private properties. We then present a case study in Queensland, Australia, in which the discrepancy of biodiversity and mining policies is directly threatening the ecological outcomes of conservation covenants on private land. We also reflect on our own personal research with landholders in Queensland to highlight the social consequences of such a policy position on the ability of State and Federal Governments to meet their policy commitments. The conflicts we identify can be used to improve the transparency of private land conservation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)114-119
    Number of pages6
    JournalLand Use Policy
    Volume30
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

    Fingerprint

    private land
    policy area
    equity
    protected area
    conservation areas
    conservation
    private lands
    policy approach
    economic policy
    land management
    cost
    subsoil
    transparency
    Queensland
    topsoil
    biodiversity
    federal government
    state government
    private property
    mineral

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Private land conservation is becoming a popular policy approach, given the constraints of increasing public protected areas, which include reduced availability of land for purchase, insufficient budgets for acquisition, and escalating management costs of small, isolated reserves. Conservation covenants represent a common policy instrument, now prominent in the United States, Canada and Australia, employed to compliment the protected area network. When 'topsoil' and subsoil, or 'mineral' use rights are decoupled, however, the security of covenants can become threatened if the country's economic policies take priority over conservation policies and mining is permitted where covenants exist. We discuss this issue on a theoretical level, examining four potential scenarios in which use rights are decoupled or coupled. We demonstrate that decoupled use rights can create an imbalance in the costs and benefits, to landholders and the government, from conservation and mining activities on private properties. We then present a case study in Queensland, Australia, in which the discrepancy of biodiversity and mining policies is directly threatening the ecological outcomes of conservation covenants on private land. We also reflect on our own personal research with landholders in Queensland to highlight the social consequences of such a policy position on the ability of State and Federal Governments to meet their policy commitments. The conflicts we identify can be used to improve the transparency of private land conservation.",
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    Security and equity of conservation covenants : Contradictions of private protected area policies in Australia. / Adams, Vanessa; Moon, K.

    In: Land Use Policy, Vol. 30, No. 1, 01.2013, p. 114-119.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateResearch

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