Natural Experiments: Ecosystem-Based Management and the Environment

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Overview

Scholars, scientists, and policymakers have hailed ecosystem-based management (EBM)as a remedy for the perceived shortcomings of the centralized, top-down, expert-driven environmental regulatory framework established in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. EBM entails collaborative, landscape-scale planning and flexible, adaptive implementation. But although scholars have analyzed aspects of EBM for more than a decade, until now there has been no systematic empirical study of the overall approach. In Natural Experiments, Judith Layzer provides a detailed assessment of whether EBM delivers in practice the environmental benefits it promises in theory. She does this by examining four nationally known EBM initiatives (the Balcones Canyonlands ConservationProgram in Austin, Texas, the San Diego Multiple Species Program, the Comprehensive EvergladesRestoration Plan, and the California Bay-Delta Program) and three comparison cases that used more conventional regulatory approaches (Arizona's Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and efforts to restore Florida's Kissimmee River and California's Mono Basin). Layzer concludes that projects that set goals based on stakeholder collaboration, rather than through conventional politics, are less likely to result in environmental improvement, largely because the pursuit of consensus drives planners to avoid controversy and minimize short-term costs. Layzer's resolutely practical focus cuts through the ideological and theoretical arguments for and against EBM to identify strategies that hold genuine promise for restoring the ecological resilience of our landscapes.

The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket.

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What People Are Saying

Barry Rabe

"Ecosystem-Based Management has been widely-heralded by a diverse range of scholars and practitioners in recent decades. Judith Layzer steps back and takes a careful look at efforts to apply this approach in very diverse settings,
challenging a good deal of conventional analysis along the way. This is not a search and destroy mission but rather an unusually thoughtful look at just how EBM works,
considering not only process-based outputs but tackling the much-tougher question of whether it fosters superior environmental protection." --Barry Rabe, Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

Barry Rabe
"Ecosystem-Based Management has been widely-heralded by a diverse range of scholars and practitioners in recent decades. Judith Layzer steps back and takes a careful look at efforts to apply this approach in very diverse settings, challenging a good deal of conventional analysis along the way. This is not a search and destroy mission but rather an unusually thoughtful look at just how EBM works, considering not only process-based outputs but tackling the much-tougher question of whether it fosters superior environmental protection." —Barry Rabe, Gerald Ford School of PublicPolicy, University of Michigan
From the Publisher
"Ecosystem-based management has been widely heralded by a diverse range of scholars and practitioners in recent decades. Judith Layzer steps back and takes a careful look at efforts to apply this approach in very diverse settings, challenging a good deal of conventional analysis along the way. This is not a search and destroy mission but rather an unusually thoughtful look at just how EBM works, considering not only process-based outputs but tackling the much-tougher question of whether it fosters superior environmental protection." Barry Rabe , Gerald FordSchool of Public Policy, University of Michigan

"Ecosystem-Based Management has been widely-heralded by a diverse range of scholars and practitioners in recent decades. Judith Layzer steps back and takes a careful look at efforts to apply this approach in very diverse settings, challenging a good deal of conventional analysis along the way. This is not a search and destroy mission but rather an unusually thoughtful look at just how EBM works, considering not only process-based outputs but tackling the much-tougher question of whether it fosters superior environmental protection." Barry Rabe , Gerald FordSchool of Public Policy, University of Michigan

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Judith A. Layzer is Associate Professor of Environmental Policy in the Department of UrbanStudies and Planning at MIT. She is the author of Natural Experiments: Ecosystem-BasedManagement and the Environment (MIT Press) and The Environmental Case: Translating Values into Policy.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1

2 Why Ecosystem-Based Management? 9

3 Setting Aside Habitat for Songbirds, Salamanders, and Spiders in Austin, Texas 41

4 Saving San Diego's Coastal Sage Scrub 71

5 Restoring South Florida's River of Grass 103

6 Averting Ecological Collapse in California's Bay-Delta 137

7 Conserving the Sonoran Desert in Pima County, Arizona 173

8 Re-creating Central Florida's Meandering Kissimmee River 205

9 Making History in the Mono Basin 233

10 Ecosystem-Based Management and the Environment 267

Notes 293

References 313

Index 353

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