Rolling covenants to protect coastal ecosystems in the face of sea-level rise

Bell-James, Justine, Fitzsimons, James A., Gillies, Chris L., Shumway, Nicole, and Lovelock, Catherine E. (2022) Rolling covenants to protect coastal ecosystems in the face of sea-level rise. Conservation Science and Practice, 4 (1). e593.

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Abstract

This article considers how “rolling covenants” (i.e., covenants on land title that can operate in a “rolling” geographic area to keep pace with sea-level rise) can be used to permit productive use of land in the short term, while ensuring land use can shift over time to allow for coastal ecosystem migration in the medium to long term. We use Australia as a case study, and through analysis of legislation and a series of semistructured interviews, we demonstrate how land title-based covenants can be used to give legal effect to “rolling covenant” arrangements where land is subject to existing use and occupation. We then consider practical issues associated with drafting a rolling covenant arrangement, including an analysis of the types of events or scenarios that could be used as a basis for land use changing (e.g., projected sea-level rise, actual ecosystem migration), and the advantages and disadvantages of each. We conclude that rolling covenants are a viable option for land management in the coastal zone, especially in circumstances where funding sources are available to incentivize uptake. Rolling covenants may provide opportunities for coastal wetlands to be maintained and even enhanced in cover, thereby delivering important ecosystem services (e.g., blue carbon) into the future.

Item ID: 74794
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2578-4854
Copyright Information: © 2021 The Authors. Conservation Science and Practice published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP190101185
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2022 04:41
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 70%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410103 Human impacts of climate change and human adaptation @ 30%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190102 Ecosystem adaptation to climate change @ 100%
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