11/27/17 Colloquium Series - James Farmer: “Extending the Design Principles for Common-Pool Resource Governance to Conservation Easements on Private Lands”
Private land conservation (PLC) mechanisms, such as conservation easements (CEs), create increasingly complex and potentially resilient regimes for securing and maintaining conservation benefits. Yet questions remain about how well eased lands can sustain social, economic, and environmental changes shaping resource use on private lands, and to what extent CE regimes may remain institutionally and ecologically robust. We conceptualize CE-protected lands as quasi-common-pool resource systems that produce shared resources and public goods in the form of ecosystem services. Linking the PLC literature with common-pool resource (CPR) theory, we extend Ostrom’s institutional design principles for CPR governance to PLC with a focus on land trust-managed CE regimes. This paper also advances the notion that Ostrom’s design principles may offer land trusts and other PLC entities a tool for planning and assessing the resilience and institutional viability of CE regimes as complex and evolving social-ecological systems.