Skip to main content
Barriers and bridges to the integration of social–ecological resilience and law
Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit -- Staff Publications
  • Olivia Odom Green, Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Syracuse, NY
  • Ahjond S. Garmestani, US Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH
  • Craig R. Allen, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Lance H. Gunderson, Emory University
  • J.B. Ruhl, Vanderbilt University Law School, Nashville, TN
  • Craig A. Arnold, University of Louisville
  • Nicholas A.J. Graham, James Cook University
  • Barbara Cosens, University of Idaho College of Law, Moscow, ID
  • David G. Angeler, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Brian C. Chaffin, US Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH
  • C.S. Holling, University of Florida, FL
Date of this Version

Front Ecol Environ 2015; 13(6): 332–337


U.S. Government Work


There is a fundamental difference between the ways in which ecologists and lawyers view uncertainty: in the study of ecology, uncertainty provides a catalyst for exploration, whereas uncertainty is antithetical to the rule of law. This issue is particularly troubling in environmental management, where the tensions between law and ecology become apparent. Rather than acknowledge uncertainties in management actions, legal frameworks often force a false sense of certainty in linking cause and effect. While adaptive management has been developed to deal with uncertainty, laws and legal wrangling can be obstacles to implementation. In this article, we recommend resilience-based governance – “adaptive governance” – as a means to begin bridging the gap between law and ecology.

Citation Information
Olivia Odom Green, Ahjond S. Garmestani, Craig R. Allen, Lance H. Gunderson, et al.. "Barriers and bridges to the integration of social–ecological resilience and law" (2015)
Available at: