cover of book

The Law and Policy of Ecosystem Services
by J. B. Ruhl, Steven E. Kraft and Christopher L. Lant
Island Press, 2007
Cloth: 978-1-55963-094-8 | eISBN: 978-1-59726-769-4 | Paper: 978-1-55963-095-5
Library of Congress Classification HC79.E5R84 2007
Dewey Decimal Classification 333.7


The Law and Policy of Ecosystem Services is the first comprehensive exploration of the status and future of natural capital and ecosystem services in American law and policy. The book develops a framework for thinking about ecosystem services across their ecologic, geographic, economic, social, and legal dimensions and evaluates the prospects of crafting a legal infrastructure that can help build an ecosystem service economy that is as robust as existing economies for manufactured goods, natural resource commodities, and human-provided services. The book examines the geographic, ecological, and economic context of ecosystem services and provides a baseline of the current status of ecosystem services in law and society. It identifies shortcomings of current law and policy and the critical areas for improvement and forges an approach for the design of new law and policy for ecosystem services.

Included are a series of nine empirical case studies that explore the problems caused by society’s failure to properly value natural capital. Among the case study topics considered are water issues, The Conservation Reserve Program, the National Conservation Buffer Initiative, the agricultural policy of the European Union, wetland mitigation, and pollution trading.

The Law and Policy of Ecosystem Services is a groundbreaking look at the question of whether and how law and policy can shape a sustainable system of ecosystem service management. It is an accessible and informative work for faculty, students, and policy makers concerned with ecology, economics, geography, political science, environmental studies, law, and related fields.

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