Debt-for-nature swaps (DNSs) are a method of simultaneously addressing debt problems in developing countries and protecting environmentally-sensitive tracts of land and forests. The number and scope of DNSs declined after a flurry of activity in the early to mid-1990s. While a number of problems have been identified that may have contributed to this pattern the literature has ignored the role that weakly defined and enforced property rights may play. DNSs are interpreted as Coasian bargains and an explanation for their decline based upon property rights, transactions costs, and competitive bidding is advanced.