China is establishing a national park system through reforming and consolidating its network of protected areas. That is not an easy task in a country where over half of the forest lands are owned collectively by local communities. In 2012, nearly 10 million hectares of community forestlands were included in 1,385 nature reserves. The proportion of community lands is even higher in China’s 13 pilot national parks.
In the U.S, a conservation easement was introduced to balance public interest and the rights of landowners. Conservation easements limit certain land use activities for conservation while still allowing landowners to conduct activities that are compatible with the conservation objectives.
This project aims to explore the feasibility of applying conservation easement as a complementary tool to address the land tenure challenges facing China’s national park and protected area system.