Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Saving Nature with Revolving Real Estate

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

Revolving funds buy land with high nature value, protect these values through conservation agreements and then resell them. The funds from sales then purchase more land.

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

Internationally, there is a growing focus on protecting important biodiversity found on privately owned land. In some countries, privately protected areas (PPAs) are included in a nation’s effort to meet international conservation targets.

PPAs can be created in a variety of ways. These include outright acquisition and management of land by conservation organisations, or by landholders protecting their land with a conservation covenant. A major constraint on the creation of PPAs, however, can be a lack of financial resources, particularly where land is expensive to buy and manage as a private conservation reserve, or where existing landowners are reluctant to enter into permanent conservation agreements.

One strategy conservation organisations have employed to deal with these issues is to purchase land with ecological assets, and then resell that land to new conservation-minded owners, in the process adding a permanent conservation agreement (such as a covenant). The proceeds from the sale can then be used to purchase and protect additional land. In Australia, this approach is referred to as a revolving fund.

Surprisingly, given the number of revolving funds in operation around the world, not much is known about the process of buying, protecting and reselling land for this purpose. In fact, the approach has a variety of different names (and operate in...

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