Whose Voices Count in Biodiversity Conservation? Ecological Democracy in Biodiversity Offsetting, REDD+, and Rewilding

Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning. Forthcoming

UC Hastings Research Paper No. 384

25 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2019 Last revised: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by David Takacs

David Takacs

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Date Written: September 26, 2019

Abstract

Ecological democracy seeks environmentally sustainable ends through broad, active democratic participation. What happens when laws fostering participation in environmental decision-making and biodiversity preservation lead to differing results? What is best for biodiversity may not be what for local citizens believe is best. I examine conflicts and congruencies in the context of Biodiversity Offsetting, REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), and the Rewilding movement. I ask questions that are legal (Who has what legal rights to speak for or against programs that enhance biodiversity?), epistemological (Whose expertise and knowledge matters when scientists and non-scientists don’t agree?), axiological (Are some values objectively better, and why?), and normative (Whose opinions about biodiversity should count?). Many people have the right to participate in an ecological democracy: But when protecting biodiversity, who does and should have the right to be heard? I problematize the role that ‘local’ actors play in decision-making and describe the variegated role that experts – particularly biologists – play in ecological democracy when biodiversity preservation matters. To determine whose values and voices should be prioritized, I describe ‘deep equity,’ an axiological and normative groundwork for determining when biodiversity- promoting policies may be preferable even if affected citizens don’t agree.

Keywords: Ecological democracy; environmental democracy; biodiversity offsetting; REDD +; rewilding; deep equity; biodiversity conservation

Suggested Citation

Takacs, David, Whose Voices Count in Biodiversity Conservation? Ecological Democracy in Biodiversity Offsetting, REDD+, and Rewilding (September 26, 2019). Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning. Forthcoming , UC Hastings Research Paper No. 384, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3459889 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3459889

David Takacs (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

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