Credible Commitments, Adaptability, & Conservation Easements


Conservation easements, a widely used tool to preserve land for conservation purposes, suffer from a fundamental flaw in lacking a means of adapting the permanent interests they create to changed conditions. This flaw is becoming more apparent as the early generation of these interests age and climate change threatens to bring more rapid demands for adaptation of existing conservation goals in light of changed conditions. Drawing on lessons from successes in international financial centers and U.S. states that are successful in jurisdictional competition, this article argues that the law should embrace measures that enable such competition in providing for shared governance of land between conservation interests and private landowners.