A legal tool for private land conservation

The DRC amends Chile’s Civil Law to add a new definition of private property ownership: the right to own and manage land for its conservation values. It recognizes and enshrines in statute the ecological, historical or cultural significance and scenic beauty of private property, meaning that the land is important to the larger society, not just to its owner. 

The DRC is a practical, legally enforceable and flexible agreement to secure private land conservation.

Advantages of a DRC agreement

Protects nature for future generation and in perpetuity, if agreed

Runs with the land, it requires succeeding landowners to abide by its terms and conditions

Formalizes the relationship with the land trusts organization, which acts as a partner in conservation

The landowner continues to own, manage and enjoy their land as private property. 

Protects Conservation Values from land use change

Key Components of the DRC Agreement

The following are the components of a DRC. These components are agreed to by the DRC Grantor and Grantee, and result in a secure, enforceable and flexible long-term land conservation agreement.

Standards for the use of the Derecho Real de Conservación

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Why does an landowner establish a DRC?

The main motivation for establishing a Derecho Real de Conservaicón is the desire to protect the environmental values of a property and that this will be expressed in the owner’s legacy in an unequivocal way in perpetuity. 

In addition, work is being done to enable future owners who protect their land with a DRC, that meets certain standards, to access tax benefits or new financing opportunities. These benefits may be varied, such as funding, compensation from the Environmental Impact Assessment System (EIA) and opportunities for access to new markets in the case of properties that have productive uses.

How long does a DRC agreement last?

The law provides that the Derecho Real de Conservación is of indefinite duration, unless the parties agree otherwise (Article 3, Law 20.930), and does not indicate the need for a minimum period. However, for a DRC to meet the established standards, it is key that the agreement is in perpetuity.

Why should the DRC agreements be in perpetuity?

For real protection of a property’s natural heritage, conservation must be long-term. A perpetuity DRC allows to achieve the objectives of biodiversity conservation, as it protects cycles and natural functions for long periods of time. On the other hand, short-term agreements can lead to false sense of protection, making the time and costs spent implementing and executing a DRC not reflected in the effective protection of environmental heritage.

How do I terminate a DRC agreement? 

According to Law 20.930, a DRC agreement can be terminated in the same way that other in rem rights are terminated: by mutual agreement between the parties, foreclosure, or the expropriation of the property.

What happens when the holder ceases to exist?

In the event of the dissolution of the holder, the DRC agreement passes into the hands of the legal successor established in the organization’s statutes, unless something different is stated in the contract. The successor holder shall have the original obligations and rights to the agreement.

How much does it cost to establish a DRC?

Establishing a Derecho real de Conservación has different associated costs. Broadly speaking, they are divided into: 1) Costs associated with the establishment of the DRC, such as the development of an ecological baseline, legal support and procedures for registration in the Conservador de Bienes Raíces; and 2) Costs associated with implementing the terms of the contract, such as monitoring conservation values and enforcement.