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The Waiter at the Party: A Parable of Ecosystem Management in the Everglades

October 2006

Citation: 36 ELR 10771

Issue: 10

Author: Alfred R. Light

Editors' Summary: Adaptive management has emerged as a response to the complexity of environmental policy implementation. Development, regulatory advances and shortcomings, and other contextual nuances all conspire to complicate policymaking. In this Article, Prof. Alfred Light explores how to adapt to changing circumstances by adopting more flexible management strategies. He explains how horizontal, intergovernmental networks may facilitate policy implementation more efficiently and effectively than traditional legal or hierarchical structures. Using a case study of the Florida Everglades, he illustrates the inevitability of surprise and the importance of adaptive management for achieving results.

Alfred Light is a Professor of Law at the St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami Gardens, Florida. This research has been supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program, EPA Grant #R830843, "Risk Communication in Community Participation: Comparing Regional Programs in South Florida" and the St. Thomas University School of Law. The author wishes to acknowledge Michael McQuaide, St. Thomas Class of 2006 and research fellow on the project in 2005, for research assistance. Earlier versions of some of this research were presented at the International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability, East-West Center, in Honolulu, Hawaii, on February 27, 2005, and at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 5, 2006.

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