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The Laws of Nature

Managing Ecosystems for A Sustainable Future

edited by Kalyani Robbins

Publication Year: 2013

This timely collection written by an interdisciplinary array of law professors, who specialize in legal and policy issues surrounding ecosystem management, and scholars and practitioners in areas such as environmental policy and planning, conservation, economics, and biology explore why ecosystems must be valued and managed in their own right. The importance of ecosystems has been underestimated. We cannot simply hope ecosystems will benefit from legislation focused on other environmental and natural resource protections, such as those for wildlife, trees, air and water. An ecosystem, a community of organisms together with their physical environment, viewed as a system of interacting and interdependent relationships, has its own intricate administrative issues. Edited by Kalyani Robbins, a law professor, The Laws of Nature will investigate how ecosystems function, their value to humans and wildlife, and what factors affect ecosystems' survival. This analysis will be coupled with cutting-edge theories and regulatory proposals from legal scholars who study ecosystem questions. In the end, a thorough and multi-disciplinary understanding of the importance of ecosystem will be presented.

Published by: The University of Akron Press

Series: &Law


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

I. Understanding and Evaluating Ecosystem Management Thus Far

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1. An Ecosystem Management Primer History, Perceptions, and Modern Definition

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pp. 3-19

Ecosystem management is still a relatively new field of study—then Forest Service Chief F. Dale Robertson coined the term just two decades ago in 19921—so its membership is still fairly small. But the issues are too important, too potentially life-altering, to leave to a handful of experts to worry about. This book is for everyone: law students, college and graduate students, experts...

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2. Ecosystem-Based Management

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pp. 20-41

Since the 1980s, ecosystem-based management (EBM) experiments have been undertaken around the world. Although detailed descriptions of individual projects abound,1 systematic assessments of their results remain sparse. In the 2000s, however, scholars began investigating the actual performance of EBM projects. The results of that research suggest that EBM has...

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3. Integrating Law, Policy, and Science in Managing and Restoring Ecosystems

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pp. 42-66

The term ‘ecosystem management’ reminds me of an episode of my favorite television program as a kid, the classic Star Trek series. In one episode, Dr. McCoy seemingly finds a long-lost love on a remote planet, looking even younger and lovelier than he remembers her. However, the young lady turns...

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4. Whatever Happened to Ecosystem Manageme

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pp. 67-94

To be honest, I did not know what to make of the invitation to write a chapter on ecosystem management (EM) and federal lands. My cynical side questioned the relevance of doing so, as a lot of thought has been given to the topic over the years. Yet here we are, roughly two decades after the...

II. Letting Theory Inform Practice

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5. Ecosystem Services and Ecosystem Management—How Good a Fit?

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pp. 97-121

By the mid-1990s, the evolving concept of ecosystem management had become the subject of intense debate in natural resources policy.1 In a landmark 1994 article in Conservation Biology, R. Edward Grumbine captured the state of play of that debate and synthesized what he drew from the literature on ecosystem management to define its central tenets.2 At the core of...

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6. Ecosystem Management: A Policy-Oriented Jurisprudence Perspective

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pp. 122-142

The environment is the “fragile envelope of our planet in which we all live,” and is presently “under unimaginable stress as industrial and science-based civilizations use the resources of the planet ever more intensively.”1 To address the unintended consequences of our intensive natural resource use (e.g., biodiversity loss, depletion of ocean fisheries, pollution...

III. Making Better Use of Existing Federal Law

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7. Addition by Subtraction: NEPA Routines as Means to More Systemic Ends

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pp. 145-183

This volume on ecosystem management and law seems a good place for some thoughts on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), “our basic national charter for protection of the environment.”1 NEPA is famously regarded in court as a ‘procedural’ statute, a statute that aims not for particular environmental outcomes but rather at the deliberative processes...

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8. Restoration and Law in Ecosystem Management

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pp. 184-217

Ecosystem management has been defined in many different ways,1 but most of those definitions share several key attributes. All involve managing at the scale of whole ecosystems rather than individual species or resources. All focus on ecosystem structure, function, and processes as opposed to individual components, and on the dynamic nature of ecosystems rather than...

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9. Landscape-scale Conservation and Ecosystem Services: Leveraging Federal Policies

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pp. 218-232

The context of conservation and resource management reveals a confluence of two trends as the twenty-first century unfolds. First is the broadening compass of conservation to landscape-scale evaluation and action. Efforts are telescoping outward to encompass whole watersheds and ecoregions and to undertake actions at a scale that accommodates interconnected and intersecting000

IV. Finding the Right Tools Going Forward

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10. Wildlife Conservation,Climate Change, and Ecosystem Management

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pp. 235-260

Grizzly bears have long roamed across Yellowstone National Park and beyond—a seminal fact that triggered a controversial early federal ecosystem management effort. Less than a quarter century ago, though protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Yellowstone grizzly population teetered on the edge of extinction, jeopardized by escalating development pressures...

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11. From Principles to Practice: Developing a Vision and Policy Framework to Make Ecosystem Management a Reality

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pp. 261-282

For decades, natural resource managers have struggled to reconcile the political realities of jurisdictional boundaries, land ownership, and agency mandates with the ecological realities of boundary-less ecosystems and ecological processes. As managers are increasingly confronted with issues that cross boundaries—like wildland fire, invasive species, climate change, and land use...

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12. Valuation and Payment for Ecosystem Services as Tools to Improve Ecosystem Management

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pp. 283-300

Ecosystems are biological communities comprised of living organisms interacting with each other and the nonliving physical environment. Natural ecosystem processes resulting from these interactions provide and support countless goods and services enjoyed by human society. Ecosystem (or...


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pp. 301-312

E-ISBN-13: 9781937378271
E-ISBN-10: 1937378276
Print-ISBN-13: 9781935603634
Print-ISBN-10: 1935603639

Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: &Law
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OCLC Number: 864854746
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Laws of Nature

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Subject Headings

  • Ecosystem management -- Law and legislation -- United States.
  • Conservation of natural resources -- Law and legislation -- United States.
  • Biodiversity conservation -- Law and legislation -- United States.
  • Environmental policy -- United States.
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