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Breaking the bundle of rights:conservation easementsand the legal geographiesof individuating nature

Kay, Kelly (2015) Breaking the bundle of rights:conservation easementsand the legal geographiesof individuating nature. Environment and Planning A, 48 (3). pp. 504-522. ISSN 0308-518X

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0308518X15609318


This paper bridges critical legal geography and geographical work on neoliberal natures to illustrate the vital role that US law has played in reimagining the values of nature as divisible from their supporting contexts and the spatial outcomes of this ‘‘individuation.’’ The development and widespread use of conservation easements by nonprofit land trust groups serves as a precedent-setting case study. I review the two major pieces of enabling legislation: the Uniform Conservation Easement Act, and the addition of Section 170(h) to the federal tax code, to argue that these legal changes mark a pivotal moment of reregulation that has been significant for regularizing the separation of conservation values from their socio-ecological contexts. Finally, I offer three examples of the spatial manifestations of the legal foundations of conservation easements: shifting geographies of conservation prompted by highest and best use valuation and tax deductibility, an altered public/private divide in protected areas, and the creation of new spaces of accumulation, through the use of easement law by entrepreneurial forest carbon firms.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2016 09:59
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2020 05:50

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