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Can Law Foster Social-Ecological Resilience?

Ahjond S. Garmestani, Environmental Protection Agency, USA
Craig R. Allen, U.S. Geological Survey - Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, USA.
Melinda H. Benson, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA.


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Law plays an essential role in shaping natural resource and environmental policy, but unfortunately, many environmental laws were developed around the prevailing scientific understanding that there was a “balance of nature” that could be managed and sustained. This view assumes that natural resource managers have the capacity to predict the behavior of ecological systems, know what its important functional components are, and successfully predict the outcome of management interventions. This paper takes on this problem by summarizing and synthesizing the contributions to this Special Feature (Law and Social-Ecological Resilience, Part I: Contributions from Resilience 2011), focusing on the interaction of law and social-ecological resilience, and then offering recommendations for the integration of law and social-ecological resilience.

Key words

adaptive governance; adaptive management; law; social-ecological resilience

Copyright © 2013 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087