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Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

Further examples of successful land purchase for conservation.

Posted By: Jerome L. McElroy, Hans Kampf, Denis Bredin, Steve Blackley.
Date: Tuesday, 17 April 2001, at 1:42 p.m.

In response to: 'Protecting pristine sites from over-development: is purchasing an option?' (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=283) (Miguel Olvera Novoa and Angela Speed)


MODERATOR'S NOTE: There has been a considerable response to the contributions on purchasing pristine areas for conservation [Mr. Miguel Olvera Novoa and Ms. Angela Speed (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=283), Messrs. Faulkner, Subramanian and Potter (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=290), and Mr. Santos (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=292)]. These responses have been combined in several separate postings, the fourth one follows.


Another successful example of land purchase/lease for conservation is the case of Cousin Island, Seychelles, in the Western Indian Ocean. This small (27 ha) granite island was a privately owned coconut plantation in the 1800s. It was purchased in 1968 by the International Council for Bird Preservation (U.K.) - now BirdLife International - an international federation of bird conservation organisations. Cousin Island was prized for its biodiversity, and specifically for its endemic Seychelles Warbler.

In 1968 it was designated by the local government as a nature reserve, and in 1975 as a special reserve under the National Park Act. It was managed by BirdLife International until 1998 when the management was turned over to a local non-governmental organisation, BirdLife Seychelles.

Today, Cousin Island is known as (1) a pristine scientific research site, (2) a showcase of island biodiversity, and (3) a successful tourism birding destination. Some 11,000 tourists (roughly 10% of the total visitors to the Seychelles) visited the island in 1999. The island is open four days a week for two-hour, warden-guided tours to observe rare marine and terrestrial bird species. The fees generated by the visitors (over $200,000) cover all management/ conservation costs.

Over the past four decades there have been remarkable increases in the number of Seychelles Warblers and other endemic bird species, expanded breeding of hawksbill turtles, increases in the fish biomass in the surrounding fringing reefs, and significant declines in poaching. Local observers credit their success to a number of factors: (1) purchase of the resource for protection, (2) long-term planning and management, (3) significant local control in resource management and in operating the tourism industry, and (4) the destination's consensus on its high-quality tourism identity rather than 'mass tourism'. (JEROME L. McELROY)

The Netherlands has had considerable positive experience with land acquisition for conservation, since the 1940s. The goal of the Nature Policy Plan for the period 1990 to 2018 is to buy 190,000 ha of land, and to increase the protected areas to 750,000 ha. This is in a country of 3,000,000 ha. Land purchase is, in my opinion, one of the most important ways for a sustainable nature protection policy. Further information is available in the following website: http://www.home.zonnet.nl/hanskampf/index.html.

Clive Gilbert (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=329) described the purchasing policy of the Conservatoire du Littoral in France. The purpose of this organisation is to buy land for coastal protection. Since 1975, more than 800 km (60,000 ha) of coastline have been purchased. Land ownership is essential for efficient management. More information can be obtained from . (DENIS BREDIN)

The Coastal Land Protection Scheme (CLPS) acquisition system used by the State Government of New South Wales, Australia, targets coastal areas. To date 14,650 hectares have been purchased, preserving strips of coastal land as National Parks and reserves, as well as isolated scenic features. The requests for acquisition of lands, particularly from local government and community groups, routinely exceeds available funding. The CLPS is administered by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning (DUAP) with recommendations and advice from the Coastal Council of New South Wales. For more information contact Don Geering, Director of Natural Resources Planning, DUAP, at or Julie Conlon, Executive Officer at the Coastal Council at . (STEVE BLACKLEY)

Mr. Jerome L. McElroy, Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana U.S.A.

Mr. Hans Kamp, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Mr. Denis Bredin, Conservatoire du littoral, Paris, France.

Mr. Steve Blackley, Coastal Council of New South Wales, Australia.


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