Social-Ecological Resilience and Law

Social-Ecological Resilience and Law

AHJOND S. GARMESTANI
CRAIG R. ALLEN
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 416
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/garm16058
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  • Book Info
    Social-Ecological Resilience and Law
    Book Description:

    Environmental law envisions ecological systems as existing in an equilibrium state, reinforcing a rigid legal framework unable to absorb rapid environmental changes and innovations in sustainability. For the past four decades, "resilience theory," which embraces uncertainty and nonlinear dynamics in complex adaptive systems, has provided a robust, invaluable foundation for sound environmental management. Reforming American law to incorporate this knowledge is the key to sustainability. This volume features top legal and resilience scholars speaking on resilience theory and its legal applications to climate change, biodiversity, national parks, and water law.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53635-6
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Political Science, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction Social-Ecological Resilience and Law
    (pp. 1-14)
    AHJOND S. GARMESTANI, CRAIG R. ALLEN, CRAIG ANTHONY (TONY) ARNOLD and LANCE H. GUNDERSON

    Environmental law is intimately connected to ecological concepts and understanding. The legal instruments, institutions, and administration of law in the United States are predicated on assumptions that nature is globally stable and that the inherent variability in ecological systems is bounded. This current legal framework is based upon an understanding of ecological systems operating near an equilibrium, or if disturbed, moving back toward an equilibrium. Such assumptions make much current environmental law ill-suited for many pressing environmental issues (Ruhl 1999; Garmestani et al. 2009; Craig 2010; Verchick 2010; Benson and Garmestani 2011). Emerging environmental challenges, such as cross-boundary water governance...

  5. ONE Wilderness Preserves Still Relevant and Resilient After All These Years
    (pp. 15-36)
    SANDRA B. ZELLMER and JOHN M. ANDERIES

    Since the late nineteenth century, policy makers and conservation groups in the United States have devoted a great deal of attention to preserving natural places (Hays 1959). Wilderness preserves, in particular, represent both the legacy of America’s past—remnant patches of the vast lands occupied for millennia by Native Americans and wild creatures—and our options and hopes for a biologically and culturally resilient future (Scott 2004). Wilderness areas provide many ecological and anthropocentric benefits, including habitat for a diverse array of species, watershed protection, carbon sequestration, recreational opportunities, beauty, and quiet sanctuary. In describing one “lovely and terrible,” “harshly...

  6. TWO Bringing Resilience to Wildlife Management and Biodiversity Protection
    (pp. 37-62)
    MELINDA HARM BENSON and MATTHEW E. HOPTON

    Biological diversity can be considered both temporally (i.e., evolutionary time) and/or spatially and reflects the number, variety, and variability of organisms. It includes diversity within species (i.e., genetic and morphological), between species (i.e., alpha and beta), and among ecosystems (i.e., beta and gamma). Over the past few hundred years, human activities have increased species extinction rates by as much as 1,000 times above the background rates that were typical over Earth’s history (Figure 2.1) (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005; but see He and Hubbell 2011). In the United States, there are approximately 1,900 species listed as threatened or endangered, with potentially...

  7. THREE Landscape-Level Management of Parks, Refuges, and Preserves for Ecosystem Resilience
    (pp. 63-97)
    ROBERT L. GLICKSMAN and GRAEME S. CUMMING

    The laws that govern the location and management of national parks, wildlife refuges, and other federal land preserves were designed to protect and “conserve” natural resources such as fish, wildlife, and other “natural objects” found in some of the nation’s most highly treasured locations. It is clear, however, that the nature of conservation has changed substantially since Congress first enacted laws such as those from which the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Forest Service first derived their authority. Recent years have seen an increasing awareness that ecosystems depend on other systems and may be influenced by them from...

  8. FOUR Marine Protected Areas, Marine Spatial Planning, and the Resilience of Marine Ecosystems
    (pp. 98-141)
    ROBIN KUNDIS CRAIG and TERRY P. HUGHES

    At first blush, a concern for improving ocean resilience—or, more properly, the resilience of marine ecosystems—might seem misdirected. Oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and, because of their depth, provide 99 percent of the habitat available for life (Ogden 2001). Biological diversity in the oceans exceeds that on land (Craig 2005). In addition, the seas moderate and buffer the most fundamental physical and chemical processes of the planet, including temperature regulation, the hydrological cycle, and carbon sequestration. Changes in ocean temperature and ocean currents in one part of the world affect weather over a much greater...

  9. FIVE Resilience and Water Governance Addressing Fragmentation and Uncertainty in Water Allocation and Water Quality Law
    (pp. 142-175)
    BARBARA A. COSENS and CRAIG A. STOW

    The U.S. EPA reports that almost half of the nation’s rivers and two-thirds of its lakes are use-impaired due to poor water quality (U.S. EPA 1998, 2002, 2010; Houck 2002). The Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission identified both poor water quality and unhealthy aquatic systems among the water challenges facing the West (Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission 1998). The water quality impairment is caused both by chemical pollution and physical alteration of streams. Nutrients and excess sediment impair water quality in 30 percent of the nation’s streams (U.S. EPA 2011). In the Great Basin nearly two-thirds of the...

  10. SIX Institutionalized Cooperation and Resilience in Transboundary Freshwater Allocation
    (pp. 176-203)
    OLIVIA ODOM GREEN and CHARLES PERRINGS

    Of all the expected impacts of climate change, the most significant is likely to be the change in the availability of freshwater associated with changing precipitation. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report notes that all regions of the world are expected to experience a net negative impact on water resources and freshwater ecosystems. The impact is likely to be highly variable, with some regions experiencing declining runoff and others experiencing increasing runoff. Many areas are projected to experience increased variability in precipitation and hence in water supply, water quality, and flood risks (IPCC 2007). Individual countries...

  11. SEVEN Ecosystem Services, Ecosystem Resilience, and Resilience of Ecosystem Management Policy
    (pp. 204-234)
    J. B. RUHL and F. STUART CHAPIN III

    Two emerging theoretical models have captivated ecological science and policy over the past decade. One is the concept of ecosystem services, which focuses on the benefits that people derive from ecosystems, including the flows of economically valuable services to human populations (Costanza et al. 1997; Daily 1997; Ruhl et al. 2007; Ruhl and Salzman 2007). The other is resilience theory, which explores how natural and social systems withstand disturbances over time (Gunderson and Holling 2002; Gunderson et al. 2010). In this chapter, we examine the connections between the two.

    Ecosystem services theory and resilience theory have both gained tremendous stock...

  12. EIGHT Maintaining Resilience in the Face of Climate Change
    (pp. 235-264)
    ALEJANDRO E. CAMACHO and T. DOUGLAS BEARD

    Climate change, when combined with more conventional stress from human exploitation, calls into question the capacity of both existing ecological communities and resource management institutions to experience disturbances while substantially retaining their same functions and identities (Zellmer and Gunderson 2009; Ruhl 2011). In other words, the physical and biological effects of climate change raise fundamental challenges to the resilience of natural ecosystems (Gunderson and Holling 2002). Perhaps more importantly, the projected scope of ecological shifts from global climate change—and uncertainty about such changes—significantly stresses the capacity of legal institutions to manage ecosystem change (Camacho 2009). Existing governmental institutions...

  13. NINE Matching Scales of Law with Social-Ecological Contexts to Promote Resilience
    (pp. 265-292)
    JONAS EBBESSON and CARL FOLKE

    The scales of social-ecological contexts and interactions—including environmental degradation, ecological processes, societies, and societal development—are changing, and these changes challenge our thinking on the scales of law. Increasing exploitation and trade, altered migration patterns, intensified harvesting, and new scientific breakthroughs transform issues that were previously seen as national or subregional to global or regional in scope. Social-ecological contexts expand from local to regional and from regional to global or leap from local to global. Cross-scale interactions play out in new ways; new linkages and feedbacks are created that increasingly connect distant peoples, places, and parts of the biosphere....

  14. TEN Incorporating Resilience and Innovation into Law and Policy A Case for Preserving a Natural Resource Legacy and Promoting a Sustainable Future
    (pp. 293-316)
    TARSHA EASON, ALYSON C. FLOURNOY, HERIBERTO CABEZAS and MICHAEL A. GONZALEZ

    The concept of sustainability has been widely embraced by society and in environmental law and policy as a measure to ensure a heritage of economic viability, social equity, and environmental stewardship. In a large number of statutes, Congress and many state legislatures have begun to adopt the goals of protecting a natural resource legacy and promoting sustainable use of the nation’s valuable natural resources. However, many of the statutes enacted have been virtually unenforceable due to lack of standards and guidance on reconciling complex and often competing priorities. Moreover, reports continue to surface regarding such problems as diminishing natural resources,...

  15. ELEVEN Adaptive Law
    (pp. 317-364)
    CRAIG ANTHONY (TONY) ARNOLD and LANCE H. GUNDERSON

    The need for “ adaptive law”—for law to be adaptive and resilient—is clear. What is not as clear, though, is what adaptive law would look like. What would be its primary features? Can we learn lessons from the panarchic dynamics of interconnected social and ecological systems that would guide legal reform to achieve adaptive structures and functions in U.S. law?

    These questions must be answered, though, in the context of how law, society, and nature actually interact with one another. The study of adaptive law has an empirical imperative, not just a normative imperative. In particular, we are...

  16. TWELVE The Integration of Social-Ecological Resilience and Law
    (pp. 365-382)
    AHJOND S. GARMESTANI, CRAIG R. ALLEN, J. B. RUHL and C. S. HOLLING

    A dramatic paradigm shift in American law occurred in 1970, as Congress began to target hazardous waste, water pollution, and protection of endangered species with sweeping new legislation (Lazarus 2004). Preceding this new era of environmental protection, federal policies had already begun to shift resource use from private interests for economic development to conservation and preservation by and for the public. This shift in U.S. policy was preceded by subtle shifts in the way that scientists, policy makers, and the public viewed and conceptualized the natural environment. In particular, changing conceptions of the naturalness of ecosystems, humans’ ability to affect...

  17. Contributors
    (pp. 383-384)
  18. Index
    (pp. 385-404)