Are AWF and KLCT interested in non-voluntary easements?
No. African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Kenya Land Conservation Trust (KLCT) will only work with landowners who are willing and interested in consensually negotiated environmental easements.
Does the landowner who conveys an easement still own the land?
Yes. The title on which the easement is registered remains with the landowner.
What is included in the easement agreement?
Environmental easements vary in content, but there are certain essential components:
- Description of the purpose of the easement and the conservation values of the land; these are usually set out in a schedule and comprise the present state of the land which acts as a baseline for future monitoring of the easement.
- Conveyance of certain rights to the grantee to enable it to enforce the provisions of conservation easement.
- Prohibition of specific uses of the property that is inconsistent with the purposes of an environmental easement (e g fences, dams, roads, construction, and mining).
- Reservation of certain rights to the landowner (e g right to continue living on land, or ranch to an agreed extent).
Are Easements Permitted under Kenyan Law?
Yes! Environmental easements are permitted under the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) for conservation purposes.
Environmental easements can be consensually negotiated between two parties. The agreement must be approved by a court and then registered against the land title. The law also provides for easement to be imposed by one party on another through the court process. After approval the easement will be registered against the title
According to EMCA, “The object of an environmental easement is to further the principals of environmental management set out in this Act by facilitating the conservation and enhancement of the environment, in this Act referred to as the benefited environment, through the imposition of one or more obligations in respect of the use of land, in this Act referred to as the burdened land, being the land in the vicinity of the benefited environment”.
Under EMCA who can own or hold an easement?
Under EMCA, anyone can hold an easement. However, given the goal of land protection and the need for the holder of the easement to monitor the easement, KLCT and AWF strongly recommend all easements to be held by conservation organizations with a focus on land conservation and the ability to monitor and enforce easements long into the future.
For more information please contact:
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Basics of Environmental Easement
Kenya is renowned for its national parks and the abundance and diversity of wildlife; however, Kenya’s protected areas are too small and fragmented to maintain viable populations of wildlife species. It is now recognized that the survival of most wildlife in Kenya depends on access to land outside government protected areas. These areas are becoming increasingly fragmented and degraded due to change in land use and human population pressure. We believe that to secure Kenya’s ecological integrity and to maintain viable populations of wildlife, land outside protected areas must be conserved through innovative conservation measures such as environmental easements, which not only protect land, but provides benefits to the landowners.
What is an environmental easement?
An environmental easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and another party or organization that restricts certain uses on a property to protect its natural resources for a specific period of time, usually into perpetuity. Environmental easements protect land for future generations while allowing owners to retain certain private property rights and to live on and use their land.
Private land owners possess distinct legal rights, such as the right to farm, develop, sustainable use of forests and water resources. These property rights can be thought of as a “bundle of rights.” Any of these property rights can be transferred to another party for the benefit of wildlife or nature conservation. For example, a landowner can choose to transfer, voluntarily or for a fee, the right to develop his/her land, and still reserve the right to undertake other activities on his/her land.
If you have any questions or concerns about easements, please don’t hesitate to contact the following:
Director, Land Conservation
African Wildlife Foundation
or get in touch with
Kenya Land Conservation Trust