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Wildlife as a resource plays an important role in the economic development of Kenya. It is the main basis of the tourism industry, which contributes greatly to the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Kenya's wildlife is preserved in protected areas in which human settlement is prohibited and land use restricted to wildlife conservation. However, most of these protected areas have been found too small to maintain viable populations and diversity of wildlife in the long term. Over 70 percent of Kenya's wildlife resides outside protected areas. This land provides habitat for wildlife as well as connectivity between various protected areas. While the importance of land outside protected areas to the integrity and viability of protected areas is accepted, the continued availability of wildlife areas outside protected areas is threatened. These lands are rapidly being subdivided, fenced, and converted to other uses such as agriculture and urban development. Unregulated land use change destroys wildlife habitat and migratory routes and threatens the existence of wildlife. It is therefore important to find mechanisms to conserve critical wildlife areas found outside protected areas.
This chapter examines the use of one land conservation mechanism – easements. It traces the history and use of easements in the English Common Law. It discusses the limitations that easements under Common Law present to the use of the easement for wildlife conservation by the requirements for dominant and servient tenement and the rule against easements in gross.
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