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Ecological Governance
Reappraising Law's Role in Protecting Ecosystem Functionality

$37.99 (C)

  • Date Published: November 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107630512

$ 37.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Ecological degradation has been an object of concern for the international community since the early 1970s, but legal approaches that have been employed to improve the protection of ecosystems have failed to halt this decline. Ecological Governance explores how the law should respond to this rapid global deterioration of ecosystems by examining the foundational scientific and ethical considerations for designing laws that are effective for ecological protection. Based on these analyses, it argues that developed states should prioritise the reduction of the ecological stresses for which they are responsible in decision-making on their future courses. The author also proposes structures for governance and associated legal frameworks that would enable the formulation and implementation of policies for ecological sustainability.

    • Proposes a new approach to governing human activities with a view to protecting ecosystem functionality
    • Provides a comprehensive overview of how governance should be restructured to improve ecological protection
    • Will be of interest to legal academics working in environmental law, but also to the wider interdisciplinary community that considers how ecological degradation can be combated
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Put briefly, [this] book not only provides an extensive discourse on how ecosystems function and what this implies for human policy making, but also provides guidance on designing the paradigm shift that is required to combat further environmental degradation. … this well-argued and eloquently written book is a valuable contribution to both the academic debate on sustainable societies and, more fundamentally, to the design of laws for implementing the required societal changes. Overall, it provides a feasible outline for the renewed role of law in protecting ecosystem functionality and may indeed serve as a blueprint for an ecologically responsible society, exactly as the author intended."
    Renske Giljam, Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law

    "Dr Woolley’s book is clearly the result of deep thought and consideration of what is required for a society to operate within the limits of the ecosystems on which it depends. Given that it offers us a fairly detailed proposal setting out how things could be if we took the health of ecosystems seriously, Ecological Governance is worthy of deep consideration by anyone with an interest in shaping future law and policy."
    Lisa Mead, Earth Law Alliance (

    'Much of the author’s argument is convincing. Given the extent of environmental degradation her vision is a compelling one. The focus on preserving ecosystem functionality and reducing the risks to that functionality from our activities makes much sense as a new activating principle of environmental law, but achieving that in practice and ensuring that such an approach is seen as legitimate is a daunting task, given the dominance of economic values and short-termism in global society.' Mark Poustie, The Edinburgh Law Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107630512
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Scientific and ethical foundations
    3. Ecologically-oriented policy-making
    4. Governing an ecological transition
    5. Ecological planning
    6. Public participation in ecological governance
    7. Informing ecological governance.

  • Author

    Olivia Woolley, University of Aberdeen
    Olivia Woolley is a lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Aberdeen. In her research she explores how law can be used more effectively to protect ecosystem functionality, particularly by enhancing the sustainability of developed states.

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