López de la Lama et al., Private land conservation in South America

López de la Lama, R., N. Bennett, J. Bulkan, D. Boyd and K.M.A. Chan “A legal assessment of private land conservation in South America.” Conservation Biology n/a(n/a): e14068. Doi: 10.1111/cobi.14068

Privately protected areas (PPAs) are a potentially innovative conservation tool. Legal recognition is necessary for their success, especially where there are institutional challenges to nature conservation, such as in South America. Although PPAs have increased in South America since the early 2000s, there is a critical information gap pertaining to their legal frameworks. We analyzed the level of landowner commitment to and governmental support for PPAs across countries in South America that officially recognize PPAs. We analyzed the legal framework governing PPAs and reviewed literature on them. This process was done in English and Spanish. The information we gathered was validated by 16 conservation experts from 10 South American countries. Because Peru is 1 of only 2 South American countries where local communities create and manage PPAs, we studied Peruvian PPAs in more detail by examining official creation documents and interviewing 13 local conservation professionals. We found inadequate minimum duration of PPAs and vague guidelines for conducting economic activities within them and a lack of governmental support (e.g., financial and technical support) for PPAs. Support was limited to the exemption from rural property taxes, which are relatively low compared with countries outside South America. In Peru, PPAs run by individuals and communities needed different legal frameworks because they were created with different objectives and had different sizes and duration of commitments. The prompt improvement of legal frameworks across South America is necessary for PPAs to achieve their aim of being places for enduring nature conservation in the region.