Employing Property Rights for Nature Conservation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


From some perspectives, to speak about property in the context of the conservation of nature is to succumb to a fundamentally flawed view of the world and humans’ place in it. Yet property rights dominate the western view of land which is central to how nature is treated. By fragmenting ecosystems, allowing owners to favour their own interests regardless of anything except other legal rights and limiting the scope for regulatory intervention, respect for property stands in the way of conservation. Yet there are ways of utilising classical property rights to further conservation interests and further potential for property to evolve to give more weight to biodiversity, such as accepting harm to ecosystem services as a legally recognised form of damage. New mechanisms based on property rights can be developed to support conservation: payment for ecosystem services, conservation covenants/easements and biodiversity offsetting. These offer potential but also challenges, both at the technical level and in terms of the overall coherence and governance of the enterprise of reversing the destruction of biodiversity. Property approaches are well-suited to the long-term arrangements required for effective action, but the fragmentation involved can hinder taking an ecosystems approach. Regulation and property must work together to produce effective conservation law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRegulatory Property Rights
Subtitle of host publicationThe Transforming of Notion of Property in Transnational Business Regulation
EditorsChristine Godt
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789004313521
ISBN (Print)9789004313514
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Law
  • Property rights
  • Regulation
  • Biodiversity


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