Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Revolving Private Land to Conserve Nature

By Mat Hardy, Sarah Bekessy, James Fitzsimons & Ascelin Gordon

Buying, protecting and reselling private land can be an effective way to conserve nature, but relies upon selecting the right properties.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The acquisition of private land with significant conservation value can be a powerful way to protect important species and ecosystems. But acquisition can be expensive, particularly in areas where land values are high. An alternative to buying land and creating a conservation reserve is to enter into permanent agreements with private landholders (e.g. conservation covenants) that restrict both current and future landowners from conducting activities that would harm their land’s ecological value.

In recent years, some conservation organisations have developed an innovative approach that integrates targeted land acquisition with permanent conservation agreements, drawing on the use of a “revolving fund”. A revolving fund is a pool of money that conservation organisations can use to acquire land with high conservation value as it becomes available for purchase. The organisation then resells the land to conservation-minded owners under the condition that they enter into a permanent conservation covenant. The proceeds from the sale are then used to purchase, protect and resell additional properties, incrementally increasing the amount of protected private land. It’s a great way to buy and conserve land, where the organisation can recover costs and then go out and do it all again.

The beauty of the revolving fund approach is its potential to be self-sustaining....

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.