Private lands conservation in law and culture

Many ecological conservation goals require the use of legal means to channel land development and otherwise curtail unsound uses of privately owned lands. Significant limits on private land use, however, often clash with cultural ideas about private property and liberty. Are the core elements of private ownership largely static or do they legitimately evolve, and is property chiefly an extension of individual liberty and self-expression or instead a tool society uses to promote the common good? This study, part of a larger comparative effort, will probe South African approaches to private lands conservation in their cultural contexts, looking at specific legal strategies and at how these strategies interact with competing ideas on ownership, individualism, land functioning, and community welfare.

Project leader(s):
  • Eric Freyfogle (Illinois)