Tuesday, August 4, 2009: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Acoma/Zuni, Albuquerque Convention Center
Mary Turnipseed, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Raphael D. Sagarin, Duke University
Raphael Sagarin, University of Arizona
The Public Trust Doctrine (PTD) is an ancient legal concept that is incorporated in U.S. law, but rarely invoked outside of the coastal zone. In its most basic form, the PTD obliges governments to manage common natural resources in the best interest of their citizens, both current and future. Historically the doctrine has protected the public’s rights to fishing, navigation, and commerce over and in navigable waterways and tidal waters. Today it is a state-focused legal doctrine that has been integral to the protection of some coastal ecosystems and ecosystem services in many states. This session will show why a more expansive view of the PTD should be taken and how it could provide a powerful and intuitive framework for re-examining environmental law across ecosystems. This discussion about the PTD can be viewed as an essential component of operationalizing the 2009 ESA meeting theme of Ecological Knowledge and a Global Sustainable Society
, because the doctrine provides a holistic platform for turning our understanding of ecosystem services into sound environmental policy. The objectives of this organized oral session are threefold: 1) to introduce a broad audience to a powerful, but underutilized management tool 2) to jumpstart a new consortium for PTD studies that will synthesize the latest research about ecosystem services and match it with specific policy recommendations based on the doctrine; and 3) to link ecologists who are developing the science of ecosystem services with the legal and policy experts who are already part of this nascent consortium so that their policy recommendations reflect and incorporate scientific findings. Each presenter will speak for 15 minutes about his or her particular area of expertise: the “Sky Trust” concept; protecting ecosystem services with the PTD; using the doctrine to manage watersheds; the PTD and costal resources management; the ecological justifications for an expansive view of the doctrine in U.S. ocean waters; the manifestation of the PTD in international environmental law; and the general role of the PTD in natural resources governance. After each presentation, we will have a 5-minute period for questions. The moderator will introduce each presenter by stating how his or her work informs the topic and builds on the previous presentation.