Samples Environment Conservation Easements, Policy, and Environmental Justice

Conservation Easements, Policy, and Environmental Justice

967 words 4 page(s)

Question 1: Conservation and Policy

Conservation is a common strategy used for preserving the natural environment and minimizing the impact of the human civilization of the natural environment. It is inseparable from changing environmental policies. Nevertheless, regardless of the commonality of conservation in the modern society, no universal approach to understanding its implications has been elaborated. Because of it, there are numerous opposing views on the matters related to conservation, and two of them will be addressed in this section. The topic can be investigated by addressing several vital themes.

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The first theme to consider is the power of individual ideas in the promotion of conservation. According to Johnson (2014), individual land trusts are the main strength driving private land preservation, so they could be a significant contribution to the overall preservation effort. On the other hand, Agrawal and Redford (2009) claim that individual idea could not drive the history of land conservation because no individual effort is voluntary, and it should be induced by governments. In other words, to foster land conservation effort, the involvement of collective effort is needed. This one is significantly connected to the issue of public and private land conservation. The latter is referred to as individual, which means that it has been reviewed above. As for the public strategies of conservation, both authors believe that public effort for conservation is effective due to the effectiveness of public conservation strategies, such as the creation of publicly protected areas (Agrawal & Redford, 2009; Johnson, 2014) that are vital because of the public interest in protecting the natural environment.

Returning to private land conservation, conservation easements are the commonly used tool. Johnson (2014) believes that they are effective because of the pressure imposed by the government that forces individuals to preserve land, although only private land is preserved. Agrawal and Redford (2009), on the other hand, claim that this tool is connected to the increased governmental manipulations, so it is beneficial for the governments, not land preservation.

One more related theme is the emergence of new trends in conservation. To be specific, both authors support the belief that investment is beneficial for fostering the conservation effort (Agrawal & Redford, 2009; Johnson, 2014). They share the same view about the effectiveness of community conservation. They as well share the same opinion regarding one more vital theme – climate change. Precisely, both claim that climate change is inseparable from modifying conservation efforts and, eventually, might decrease the interest in conservation policies. Finally, in both articles, the authors share the view that the concepts of conservation, environmentalism, and preservation are interrelated. All in all, Agrawal and Redford (2009) and Johnson (2014) share numerous common views. Nevertheless, their stances on individual conservation are opposing.

Question 2: Conservation Easements and Environmental Justice
The main purpose of conservation effort usually comes down to minimizing the impact of the human civilization on the natural environment and, in particular, the emergence of the challenge of climate change and the extinctions of species (Anderson, Clark, & Sheldon, 2011; Joppa & Pfaff, 2009). To cope with the identified challenges, modern community members choose to make vital decisions from the perspective of inter-generational equity. In general terms, the strategy stands for reducing the negative impact of the current generations on the natural environment, so the future generations could enjoy it. Although making decisions according to inter-generational equity might be beneficial for addressing the identified challenged, it effectiveness is commonly asked when it comes to the issue of conservation and the use of conservation easements.

Returning to conservation, this effort is usually made in the sphere of land preservation known as conservation easement. It is achieved by creating protected areas with the aim of reducing the ecological footprint in these territories and preserving them unchanged for the future generations. It is believed that such initiatives would be helpful for avoiding climate change and preserving species (Joppa & Pfaff, 2009). Even though this effort is relatively effective, there are several critical challenges to consider. First and foremost, the creation of such protected areas is not necessarily connected to the minimized risks of climate change and preserving species because the distribution of preserved areas is uneven (Joppa & Pfaff, 2009). This one is also inseparable from the fact that these changes derive from the overall ecological initiatives and policies, not the activities (or their absence) within particular territories. From this perspective, species could still become extinct because of the changes occurring outside of the protected areas. As stated by Anderson et al. (2011), it might be significant in the case of intersections between ecological flows and species movements.

Conservational easement is not appropriate from the perspective of inter-generational equity because developing a comprehensive framework is impossible, as, in fact, the opinions of future generations cannot be collected and estimated. In other words, the whole approach is based on assuming that future generations would need a particular resource or species. This belief does not mean that all of the available resources should be wasted; it just means that the values of the future generations cannot be determined based on assumptions. In addition, each generation should avoid using resources. In this view, the era of the future generation is unlikely to begin. That being said, conservation effort should focus on minimizing the ecological footprint and preserving the species and land for the current generation because the future one might not value the perceived progress achieved in the area of preservation.

  • Agrawal, A., & Redford, K. (2009). Conservation and displacement. Conservation and Society, 7(1), 1-10.
  • Anderson, M. G., Clark, M., & Sheldon, A. O. (2011). Resilient sites for species conservation in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Boston, MA: The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Conservation Science.
  • Johnson, L. A. (2014). An open field: Emerging opportunities for a global private land conservation movement: Working paper. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
  • Joppa. L. N., & Pfaff, A. (2009). High and far: Biases in the location of protected areas. PLoS ONE, 4(12), 1-6. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008273