Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1996

OCLC FAST subject heading

Environment law


Three dominant themes can be distilled from ongoing efforts to identify a set of generic principles to guide the management philosophy known as ""ecosystem management."" These include: (1) the notion of boundaries, both geographical and institutional; (2) scientific uncertainty; and (3) governance. This article analyzes the manner in which the present legal and institutional framework for environmental management addresses these themes.

Part II identifies the problems inherent in defining the appropriate management unit for ecosystem management and in delineating the unit's boundaries in the face of inherently complex and unstable ecological factors. Part II also considers the more insidious institutional boundaries that influence the effectiveness of agencies established under the traditional resource management paradigm that existed prior to the ecosystem management regime.

Part III examines the manner in which the legal system treats scientific uncertainty.

Part IV considers the governance framework for ecosystem management through an examination of existing institutions, as currently permitted and constrained by law. Part IV also discusses the governance mechanisms recently proposed by federal and state advisory groups to achieve ecosystem management in South Florida. Part IV concludes with a discussion of other potentially applicable governance mechanisms that would require greater levels of institutional restructuring than suggested by current proposals. "