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Conservation covenants for ecosystem restoration: adapting an old instrument to a new global conservation challenge?

Authors
  • Richardson, Benjamin J.1
  • Brugler, Sarah1
  • Fitzsimons, James A.1, 2, 3
  • McCormack, Phillipa C.4
  • Akhtar-Khavari, Afshin5
  • 1 School of Law, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS , (Australia)
  • 2 The Nature Conservancy, Carlton, VIC , (Australia)
  • 3 School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC , (Australia)
  • 4 Environment Institute and Adelaide Law School, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA , (Australia)
  • 5 School of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD , (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers in Conservation Science
Publisher
Frontiers Media S.A.
Publication Date
Jan 31, 2024
Volume
5
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fcosc.2024.1335988
Source
Frontiers
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Conservation Science
  • Policy Brief
License
Green

Abstract

Conservation covenants are an important legal tool for enabling private land conservation, whose significance to policymakers has recently grown in light of new global commitments to expand areas of land and water protected and restored. Covenants’ traditional focus on conservation of existing natural values rather than restoration of degraded land or active management of environments impacted by climate change pose significant challenges to the flexibility and efficacy of this legal instrument. In Australia, recent national legal reforms to incentivise private land conservation, notably the new Nature Repair Act 2023, will need to consider how it can align with conservation covenanted lands that are regulated by different laws with different criteria and goals. Here we identify some pathways for enabling conservation covenants to play an expanded role in the context of ecosystem restoration and climate adaptation.

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