1st Edition

Environmental Law and the Ecosystem Approach Maintaining ecological integrity through consistency in law

By Froukje Maria Platjouw Copyright 2016
    220 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The ecosystem approach embodies a concept of the environment which emphasizes the integrated components of nature as complex adaptive systems. This book examines the relationship between the architecture and design of environmental law and the implementation of the ecosystem approach as a means to maintain ecological integrity. The main issue addressed is: in which manner and to what extent does fragmentation and administrative discretion in environmental law impede the implementation of an ecosystem approach?

    This is explored through analysis of several questions: what is an ecosystem approach and how could it be implemented; how can economic evaluation of ecosystem services contribute to the debate; to what extent is environmental law fragmented and how does this affect the implementation of the ecosystem approach; to what extent does environmental law contain administrative discretion and how does this affect the implementation of the ecosystem approach; is there a need for greater consistency, coherence and a stronger rule of law in environmental law in light of the ecosystem approach? The main focus is on Europe, with additional international comparisons where appropriate. The book concludes by providing a normative portrayal of future environmental law as protective, systemic and predictable.


    1.1 A Novel and Transdisciplinary Approach

    1.2 Objectives and Chronology

    1.3 Delimitations

    1.4 Key Concepts

    1.5 References

    2. The Ecosystem Approach: Its Understanding and Legal Development

    2.1 Understanding the Ecosystem Approach

    2.2 Legal Development of the Ecosystem Approach

    2.3 In sum

    2.4 References

    3. Ecosystems as Subjects of Environmental Law: Their Complexity and Integrity

    3.1 Ecosystems as Complex Adaptive Systems

    3.2 The Objective of Ecosystem Integrity and its Primacy

    3.3 In Sum

    3.4 References

    4. Ecosystem Services Valuation: Usage and Challenges

    4.1 The Rationale for Valuation in Light of the Ecosystem Approach

    4.2 The Economic Values of Ecosystem Services

    4.3 Economic Valuation Methods

    4.4 The Difficulties and Controversies Surrounding Economic Valuation

    4.5 Where do we stand?

    4.6 References

    5. Fragmentation in Environmental Law

    5.1 Environmental Law and its Fragmentation

    5.2 Dimensions of Fragmentation

    5.3 Why is there Fragmentation?

    5.4 Consequences for the Protection of Ecosystems

    5.5 References

    6. Administrative Discretion in Environmental Law

    6.1 What is Discretion?

    6.2 Forms of Discretion

    6.3 Rationales behind Discretion in Environmental Law

    6.4 Consequences for the Protection of Ecosystems

    6.5 The Interrelationship between Fragmentation and Discretion

    6.6 The Need for Strong Substantive Rules

    6.7 Conclusion

    6.8 References

    7. An Illustration of the Problem: Offshore Petroleum Exploitation in the North Sea Ecosystem

    7.1 Description of the Activity and Ecological Impacts

    7.2 Norway’s Legal Framework to Petroleum Exploitation

    7.3 Balancing Values in the Decision-Making Process

    7.4 Conclusion

    7.5 References

    8. Towards Consistency, Coherence and a Stronger Rule of Law

    8.1 Inconsistency as Undesirable

    8.2 Towards Consistency in Environmental Law

    8.3 Forms of Consistency Necessary in Environmental Law

    8.4 Appropriate Level of Consistency to be Pursued?

    8.5 Conclusion: The Future Role of Environmental Law

    8.6 References

    9. Conclusion


    Froukje Maria Platjouw is a Research Scientist in the Section for Water and Society at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Oslo, Norway. She was previously a Research Fellow in the Department of Public and International Law at the University of Oslo, Norway.