Who Owns Soil Carbon in Communal Lands? An Assessment of a Unique Property Right in Kenya

Chapter
Part of the International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy book series (IYSLP, volume 2017)

Abstract

This paper considers soil carbon property rights as they relate to community land tenure. This discussion is critical for Kenya and many other African States, which are taking steps towards establishing climate-change-related laws and policies. The paper also observes the special place of Kenya, being the first African State to enact a statute dedicated to climate change (Climate change Act, 2016, Laws of Kenya). As far as considerations of soil carbon are concerned, Kenya’s initiative on manure-based projects, (Ringius, UNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment (UCCEE) (1999) Soil carbon sequestration and the CDM Opportunities and challenges for Africa, p. 4.) and having been the first to obtain carbon credits issued under sustainable agricultural land-use management (SALM), has a unique position to lead the way in exploring the important issue of how to expose and clarify the law in order to maximise the potential for soil carbon sequestration. Importantly, the discussion herein echoes the concerns of other countries that are also grappling with the issue of how to assign which rights to carbon, generally in the course of engaging in climate change mitigation activities. This paper further considers the special case of communal land rights, as a factor that will inevitably affect the assignment of rights and distribution of any carbon-related benefits for the reason that this kind of tenure is the most predominant, not just in Kenya but in Africa.

References

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Private LawKenyatta University School of LawNairobiKenya

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