One of the main goals of the project is to transform the right to private property

into Nature’s property and right over its own life

Restoring the rule of Law for a small piece of land, a legal heterotopia

All legal actions are Nature-oriented, land-protective

and designed to prevent the treatment of Nature as mere commodity on the long-term basis.

Nature is considered as a major stakeholder in all legal decisions.

Dura lex, sed lex,

“The law is harsh but it is the law”, basic principle of any legal system, including natural law.

EU Nature Restoration Law

There is no national legislation that protects the decisions of landowners to assign their land to conservation or ecological restoration. Hence the need to develop a custom-fit and workable legal programme for the project, responding to its conceptual and ethical needs, based on international (not global), comparative and national law of civil (statutory) law legislations (as compared to common law legislations).  As a result of the 15 years of experience of legal analysis and management, it includes:

I. Consolidation of the legal base:

  1. Legal status of land: private property, all laws and legal requirements relevant to private property, apply. Provide for a legal holistic scheme that attempts to embrace all aspects of the future life of the area. Acquiring land was the primordial and crucial step towards its protection, when you buy land you also buy the right to protect it. The property was bought for “non-use”. The effectiveness is reinforced by the fact that land in private property is protected by the present national legislation from use by non-owners;

  2. Strict nature reserve, unharmed nature conservation. Law always reflects dominant ethics, in this case Nature is not only ethical, but also legal guide;

  3. Registered under national Law 19.300 “The Environmental Framework Law” (Ley de bases de Medio Ambiente), which allows creation of private protected areas, and registered in the database of the Ministry of Environment as such;

  4. Applying national regulations on fauna - for management of co-existence with wildlife, especially with large predators;

  5. Making legal solutions organically grow from the national legislation and international law. The national legislation being a classic civil (statutory) law legislation, common law concepts are not taken into account.

II. In Rem real right of environmental conservation, Derecho Real de Conservacion:

The above is reflected in the conditions developed for contracts under the Law on In rem Right of Environmental Conservation (.pdf), Ley 20930 (2016) on Derecho Real de Conservacion (.pdf), for details see page of ACCh.

In accordance with the law the contracts become integral parts of land titles. The rights are In Rem, therefore go with the land, not with the landowner. Conditions of the In Rem right of conservation for land titles of the project are detailed in this document: DR contracts.pdf . The goal is to ensure effective and irrevocable protection of the land, in perpetuity as a priority, providing reliable legal base for future long-term rather than immediate benefits, a protection independent to the maximum from the rapidly changing social environment.

III. A practical test ground for the Rights of Nature, applied within a restricted territory, surrounded by a social institutional environment in general hostile to this concept:

  1. Personhood of nature;

  2. Nature as subject of law, rights of Nature as object of legal protection, collective rights of biocenose;

  3. In-depth study of the concept of ecocide, as applied to the natural history of the area and as a legally enforceable crime;

  4. Right to personal responsibility for the land one has been trusted with, the In Gross real right to protect;

  5. Restoration of Nature’s rights, which were badly abused in the area as from the first part of the XX century, and of

   principles valuing live matter not possessions;

  1. Emphasizing the value of Natural Law.

IV. Direct application of international law:

The national legal system allows for direct application of international law (self-executing international treaties). This corresponds to the legal philosophy of the project. Therefore concepts and norms of environmental, information, liability and other branches of international law are used in the project.  The problems the project is addressing are global (nature is destroyed in the same way globally). As the era of globalisation seems to be over, it is important to preserve the legal norms developed to address global problems.  Relevant provisions of and definitions in international environmental agreements are applied to the project and it’s area, based on personal long-term experience with these agreements. A couple of examples:

  1. If it were classified under IUCN, the area would have been : “Category Ia: Strict Nature Reserve:

“Protected areas that are strictly set aside to protect biodiversity and also possibly geological/geomorphological features, where human visitation, use and impacts are strictly controlled and limited to ensure protection of the conservation values. Such protected areas can serve as indispensable reference areas for scientific research and monitoring.”

IUCN World Congress 2008 Barcelona: resolution on private land conservation (4 072).

  1. Private road: follows the rules of the The Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (UNESCO):

“Art. 4: It should include functions, through appropriate zonation, recognizing: ... a buffer zone or zones clearly identified and surrounding or contiguous to the core area or areas, where only activities compatible with the conservation objectives can take place. Art. 7: Provisions should be made for ... mechanisms to manage human use and activities in the buffer zone or zones”.

Legal aspects of land protection

  1. VII.Legal arrangements for reforestation:

As the project privileges forest-based restoration, legal arrangements for reforestation are essential.

These legal arrangements include implementation of national forest law documents (.pdf), in particular the Law on the recovery of native forest and forest development (Ley sobre recuperación de bosque nativo y fomento forestal 20.283), and relevant management agreements with the National forestry corporation (Conaf), as well as some other legal and guidance instruments, such as Decreto Ley Nº656, Decreto Ley Nº701, National strategy on biodiversity, etc.

VIII. Assessment of effectiveness of legal measures and safeguards:

Assessing effectiveness of legal measures for sort- and long-term protection, in our increasingly volatile world, is an effectiveness boosting measure. We can't give planted trees false hopes, we need to ensure legal protection of the trees planted and ecosystems restored.  The case study.

IX. Legal watch, area-based programme, local legal issues:

As the project is partly an experiment of creating a zone of rights of nature in a social environment that is hostile to this concept (a “heterotopia”), using legal means of the time and lessons from similar legislations and various epochs, it includes close monitoring of the implementation and adaptation of the applicable legislation in favor of these rights.

V. Comparative law:

The national federal legislation is a civil (statutory) legal system. In order to identify suitable options for legal standards, the comparative law appraisals are, therefore, focused on analysis of similar jurisdictions in order to identify solutions for issues such as:

  1. Private protection of nature vs. public protection of nature;

  2. Conservation easements vs. land stewardship and/or real rights;

  3. Restoration law vs. conservation law (in particular for areas where there is not too much to conserve left);

  4. Regulations for nature protected areas, in particular strict reserves, permitted and banned uses;

  5. Public access to wilderness;

  6. Legal implications of the precautionary principle in nature protection;

  7. Use of applicable legislation to increase social (including environmental) responsibility of small and medium-sized

   economic operators;

  1. Methods of implementation of adaptive management and governance;

And are primarily based on the analysis of legislation of civil law countries, mainly European:

  1. European experience ;                                                                                    Rewilding Abandoned Landscapes in Europe.pdf

  2. European legislation on soil protection; No national legislation, that could be applied, on soil protection.

  3. Legal aspects of restoration and rewilding in Europe;

  4. Types of land stewardship agreements: , respective

    rights and obligations in the land stewardship or conservation contract, include water and wetland stewardship;

  1. Land Stewardship networks in Europe, tools, standards and practices: ;

  2. Recent rulings of the European court of Justice, on the fact that the favourable conservation status of a site “shall be regarded in the light of the threats of degradation or destruction to which those sites are exposed; of maintaining or restoring the natural habitat types and the species' habitats concerned at a favourable conservation status in their natural range” (under Natura 2000);

  3. Ecosystemic interpretation of relevant legal norms and requirements.

  4. Catalonia (Spain)- conservation agreements, land stewardship easements are recognised in the Catalan civil code;

  5. Finland - perpetual easements;

  6. Belgium - private nature reserves, “growing nature” on agricultural land;

  7. Spain - Act 42/2007;

  8. Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (precursor of the Escazu agreement);

The Nature Protection Commitments in the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy

  1. Non-EU, Switzerland: more than 100-years experience of the Swiss National Park (a BLP), its history and means of protection provide the best answer to the legal requirements for the present case; law on the Swiss National Park and the Law of the Mountains. However the Law on Landscape Protection is oriented at conservation only and therefore impedes ecological restoration efforts.                                       Swiss study shows that paying people to conserve biodiversity pays off.

With due respect being paid to achievements of the common law systems, such as Australia which gained a long term experience in private conservation and conservation covenants for degraded areas: Guide_to_Private_Conservation_AU.pdf.

VI. BLP (best legal practices):

Analysis of different legal solutions worldwide leads to identification of BLP, such as programmes of buying land for conservation, actively supported by IUCN and used in many countries with success, for example IUCN in the  Netherlands. In some cases mines are bought to restore them for nature:   Fapas (bear protection association in Spain) purchased an open sky coal mine for wetland restoration. Likewise, the land of the project was bought because it was seriously degraded and to prevent further establishment of cattle, uncontrolled tourism or other nature destructive activity, and to restore is.

In 2020 a project on private land conservation was launched by Eurosites (the network for Europe’s natural site managers).

Private conservation and restoration: European Landowners Organisation (ELO).

Private landowners in nature conservation: Land is Forever network.

An environmental charity with a unique approach - use the power of law to change the system.

Under the national legal system, this opportunity is hampered by the the fact that no public property is foreseen in the legislation, therefore public legal persons cannot purchase land for conservation only. Also, there are no tax incentives for conservation for landowners, and a 40% tax on donations is applied to donations of land, including for conservation. Thus, locally and for the time being, private property on land represents a BLP for land purchases for conservation.

Green groups buy Belize forest to protect it ‘in perpetuity’

The project is not based on the conservation law’s spectrum of norms, but mainly legal instruments regulating ecological restoration, international or national, as conservation laws commonly impede nature restoration, as well as legal concepts of civil (statutory) law countries.

The project adopted the legal (and other) aspects of the concept of zapovednost.

Endangered species get a huge bump when private lands are brought into the conservation mix.

Planetary ‘safety net’ could halt wildlife loss and slow climate breakdown.

Redi’s adage: omne vivum ex vivo ("All life comes from life")