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Good Ecological Status: Advancing the Ecology of Law
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Law, Department of Law. (Miljörätt)
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

For a meaningful discussion of the effectiveness of ecological objectives and ecological quality standards, their terms and purposes must be examined and clarified. This study explores the terms and content of ecological quality objectives and ecological quality standards, based on the Water Framework Directive’s legal conceptualization of ‘ecological status’. This exploration is accomplished by analysing and describing the Water Framework Directive’s ‘ecological status’ aspect from a legal-ecological perspective. The analysis of ‘ecological status’ and its main constructs forms the basis for a possible alternative form of regulation, which addresses the shortcomings identified in the analysis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala University, Department of Law , 2015. , 115 p.
Keyword [en]
EU Water Framework Directive, Environmental Regulations.
National Category
Law
Research subject
Environmental Law
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-246561ISBN: 978-91-506-2450-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-246561DiVA: diva2:797255
Public defence
2015-05-13, Sal IV Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-04-20 Created: 2015-03-09 Last updated: 2015-07-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The Water Framework Directive: A Directive for the Twenty-First Century?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Water Framework Directive: A Directive for the Twenty-First Century?
2011 (English)In: Journal of environmental law, ISSN 0952-8873, E-ISSN 1464-374X, Vol. 23, no 3, 463-486 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article addresses the Water Framework Directive and the legal norm of ‘good ecological status’, which refers to the structure and function of ecosystems. In terms of ecology, the concepts of good structure and function reflect a resilient ecosystem with a high level of adaptive capacity. However, the legal provisions of the Directive compromise this concept. The Directive's approach assumes that by quantifying certain fixed biological elements it is possible to accurately assess the structure and function of ecosystems. This approach is highly contestable, and undermines the possibility of attaining the objective of ‘good ecological status’. To improve the possibility of achieving ‘good ecological status’, we emphasise the need to first redefine ‘high ecological status’ as a state wherein the ecosystems maintain themselves independently of management; secondly, that the hydrological regime be addressed when assessing the bodies of water; and, thirdly, that traits, rather than the current ‘quality elements’ be used as variables.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011
Keyword
EU Water Framework Directive, biological classification systems, biological quality elements, ecosystem services, traits, ecosystem management
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Law
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-158074 (URN)10.1093/jel/eqr018 (DOI)000296744000005 ()
Projects
Legal Conditions for a Sustainable Water Management
Available from: 2011-08-29 Created: 2011-08-29 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. Achieving Ecological Objectives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Achieving Ecological Objectives
2012 (English)In: Laws, ISSN 2075-471X, Vol. 1, no 1, 39-63 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The legal objective for surface water in the EU is ‘good ecological status’, as established by the Water Framework Directive, with a timeframe of 15, 21 or 27 years. To reach this objective, suitable legal instruments are needed, and quality standards are among the instruments intended to improve the ecological status. However, both the Directive and quality standards are founded on reductionism, risking an over-application of over-simplified concepts, probably reducing biological diversity. A realistic and more appropriate timeframe for river basin rehabilitation would be around 100 years, emphasizing several concerns, such as the importance of encompassing the entire life history of species, the shift in human perceptions, the systemic unity of humans and ecosystems, environmental irreducibility, site-specific reference points, and the divergence of the assessment of water quality and the general ecological status of a river basin. From a legal standpoint, a century emphasizes a temporal agreement and a normative commitment to the generations to come. Ecologically, a century time-scale gives enough time for the processes of evolution, dispersal and recolonization and succession to re-establish stable, more diverse biological communities in physically rehabilitated habitats and river basins, whereas the present timetable for achievement of the ecological objectives does not.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basel: M D P I AG, 2012
Keyword
EU water framework directive, ecological objectives, ecological quality standards, environmental quality standards, ecological standards, reductionism, holism, ecosystem management
National Category
Law
Research subject
Environmental Law
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-246556 (URN)10.3390/laws1010039 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-03-09 Created: 2015-03-09 Last updated: 2015-07-23Bibliographically approved
3. Assessing Aquatic Spaces of Regulation: Key Issues and Solutions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing Aquatic Spaces of Regulation: Key Issues and Solutions
2015 (English)In: Nordisk miljörättslig tidskrift, ISSN 2000-4273, E-ISSN 2000-4273, Vol. 2014, no 3, 23-44 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Law
Research subject
Environmental Law
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-246558 (URN)
Available from: 2015-03-09 Created: 2015-03-09 Last updated: 2017-12-04
4. Ecological Status as a Legal Construct – Determining its Legal and Ecological Meaning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecological Status as a Legal Construct – Determining its Legal and Ecological Meaning
2015 (English)In: Journal of environmental law, ISSN 0952-8873, E-ISSN 1464-374X, Vol. 27, no 2, 231-258 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: , 2015
Keyword
EU Water Framework Directive, Common Implementation Strategy, Soft Law, Post-regulative Rulemaking, Court of Justice, Environmental Regulations.
National Category
Law and Society
Research subject
Environmental Law
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247732 (URN)10.1093/jel/eqv009 (DOI)000357520600003 ()
Available from: 2015-03-23 Created: 2015-03-23 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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