The underappreciated role of regulatory enforcement in natural resource conservation

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32 Scopus citations


This article analyzes the role of prescriptive regulation and citizen-suit litigation (regulatory enforcement) in natural resource conservation in the USA. It first briefly explains why the judiciary is so involved in resource management and why litigation is so often used as a conservation tool. It then summarizes the extent to which regulatory enforcement is being threatened and/or undermined by Congress, the executive branch, and other interests. The analysis shows how regulatory enforcement often facilitates the use of less adversarial conservation strategies and that there are important synergies between them. Regulatory interactions with collaborative conservation, land and resource acquisitions/easements, and adaptive ecosystem management are analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-164
Number of pages26
JournalPolicy Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Adaptive management
  • Collaboration
  • Conservation
  • Easements
  • Environmental policy
  • Governance
  • Natural resource policy
  • Regulation


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