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Legal Strategies for Adaptive Management under Climate Change


McDonald, J and Styles, M, Legal Strategies for Adaptive Management under Climate Change, Journal of Environmental Law, 26, (1) pp. 25-53. ISSN 1464-374X (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Oxford University Press

DOI: doi:10.1093/jel/equ003


Climate change demands new forms of environmental decision-making. The concept of adaptive management can contribute to this transformation. Adaptive management recognises the dynamism of natural systems and the importance of monitoring, review, and modification of projects, plans and activities in response to new understanding. As the dominant approach in natural resource management, it finds remarkably little explicit reflection in legal frameworks. Five key mechanisms are advocated by which to implement adaptive management in law: changing statutory objectives; requiring monitoring and evaluation of projects, plans and activities; staged approvals processes; conditional approvals and statutory triggers; and proportionate resource allocation models. Wider use of these flexibility mechanisms would enable environmental decision- making to respond to the impacts of climate change, while continuing to provide a level of legal certainty. Their uptake requires shifts in the institutional culture of administering agencies and the assumptions underpinning current approaches to environmental and resource management law.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Adaptation, adaptive management, climate charnge, resource management, environmental decision-making
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Environmental and resources law
Research Field:Environmental law
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Environmental policy, legislation and standards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:McDonald, J (Professor Jan McDonald)
UTAS Author:Styles, M (Miss Megan Styles)
ID Code:91387
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:33
Deposited By:Faculty of Law
Deposited On:2014-05-16
Last Modified:2018-03-08

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