Conservation agreement: Derecho Real de Conservación

The Derecho Real de Conservación (DRC) is a legal tool that was passed unanimously by the Chilean Congress in 2016. The DRC enables private landowners to take long-term action to protect the conservation, ecological, scenic, cultural, historic, and sustainable land use attributes of their properties, while continuing to own, live on, enjoy, sell, or pass on their property to their heirs.

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The DRC takes the form of a legal agreement that is entered into between a private landowner and an entity, such as a private-non-profit land trust or a government agency. The agreement is a contract that identifies and requires the long-term protection of the property’s conservation values, while ensuring that the land stays private, and accommodating a range of sustainable land uses, including in some cases agriculture, forestry and eco-tourism. Because the DRC is a statute in Chilean law, it is legally enforceable on the parties, and the agreement is signed and recorded in the Real Estate Register.

Through this agreement, the land is still property of the owner and is also protected, whether permanently or for the time agreed by the parties. Additionally, the agreements are formulated in such a manner as to be flexible and, in many cases, they are adapted to enable sustainable land uses, such as forestry, agriculture and tourism. If desired, the Derecho Real de Conservación allows to engage a wide variety of actors in the conservation of the territory, which was once legally unthinkable, creating new forms of participation, cooperation and regulation.

  • Flexibility and Reliability
    The DRC is a secure, legally defensible agreement, which can be entered into permanently or for a term
  • The Land Remains Private
    The landowner retains ownership after the agreement is signed
  • Each Agreement is Different
    Each DRC agreement is tailored to the conservation land use goals of individual landowners and the conservation attributes of their properties
  • DRCs can allow sustainable land uses
    If appropriate, DRC agreements can accommodate income-producing sustainable land uses, including agriculture, forestry, eco-tourism, and even limited real estate development
  • DRCs Empower Private Landowners in Conservation
    DRC agreements expand participation in formal land conservation in Chile to include and engage private landowners
  • Properties that will be owned and managed as pristine ecological reserves
  • Properties that can accommodate sustainable land uses, including agriculture, forestry, ecotourism or limited real estate development, as long as these sustainable land uses are agreed to in advance by the landowner and the land trust, and as long as they do not have a negative impact on the conservation values of the landscape being protected
  • Properties whose vegetation and soil store substantial amounts of carbon and therefore help advance climate change mitigation strategies
  • Landscapes that integrate ecological protection with renewable energy projects
  • Properties that are adjacent to, in close proximity to, or which connect existing public protected areas
  • Properties that are the focus of environmental compensation agreements