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Ecosystem Services as a Framework for Law and Policy

October 2007

Citation: 37 ELR 10756

Issue: 10

Author: Ira R. Feldman and Richard J. Blaustein

Editors' Summary: Law and policy have traditionally lagged behind economics and ecology as fields addressing the value and protection of ecosystem services. Environmental lawyers and policymakers need to work to close the gap in ecologist- and economist-dominated discourse on these vital services. In this Article, Ira R. Feldman and Richard J. Blaustein examine the potential intersections of ecosystem services and law and policy. They discuss how economic considerations like valuation, scale, and uncertainty might figure in the policy opportunities for ecosystem services. And they address how such considerations as taxation and payment arrangements, common-law rights, "constitutive" constitutional rights, and established international legal norms might work to protect ecosystem services.

Ira Feldman, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is president and senior counsel at Greentrack Strategies, an independent think tank and consultancy specializing in regulatory innovation, strategic environmental management, sustainable business practices, and ecosystem services. Richard Blaustein is an environmental researcher and writer. He has represented Defenders of Wildlife at meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Climate Action Network.

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