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Adaptive Law

Resilience and Law, Craig R. Allen & Ahjond S. Garmestani, eds., Columbia University Press, 2013

45 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2012  

Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold

University of Louisville - Brandeis School of Law

Lance Gunderson

Emory University - Department of Environmental Studies

Date Written: October 22, 2012

Abstract

This book chapter proposes a bold sweeping set of characteristics of "adaptive law": features of the legal system that promote the resilience and adaptive capacity of both social systems and ecosystems. Law, particularly U.S. law, has been characterized as ill-suited to management of natural resources and the environment for resilience and sustainability. The maladaptive features of U.S. law include narrow systemic goals, mononcentric, unimodal, and fragmented structure, inflexible methods, and rational, linear, legal-centralist processes. This book chapter proposes four fundamental features of an adaptive legal system: 1) multiplicty of articulated goals; 2) polycentric, multimodal, and integrationist structure; 3) adaptive methods based on standards, flexibility, discretion, and regard for context; and 4) iterative legal-pluralist proceses with feedback loops and accountability. It then discusses these four features in the context of several socio-ecological issues and identifies needs for future study and development of adaptive law, particularly in light of panarchy theory about how complex, adaptive, interconnected systems change over time.

Keywords: resilience, adaptive law, adaptation, adaptive management, panarchy, environmental law, ecoystems, polycentric law, multiscalar, systems, legal pluralism, endangered species, clean water act, wetlands, watersheds, ecosystem management

Suggested Citation

Arnold, Craig Anthony (Tony) and Gunderson, Lance, Adaptive Law (October 22, 2012). Resilience and Law, Craig R. Allen & Ahjond S. Garmestani, eds., Columbia University Press, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2176399

Craig (Tony) Anthony Arnold (Contact Author)

University of Louisville - Brandeis School of Law ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States
502-852-6388 (Phone)
502-852-0862 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.louisville.edu/user/61

Lance Gunderson

Emory University - Department of Environmental Studies ( email )

Mathematics Center
400 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-2429 (Phone)

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