Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 01:03:09 +0200
- Journal of Environmental Law - advance access
Legal Strategies for Adaptive Management under Climate Change
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.