Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Biodiversity and Law

Research Handbook on Biodiversity and Law

Research Handbooks in Environmental Law series

Edited by Michael Bowman, Peter Davies and Edward Goodwin

This wide-ranging Handbook presents a range of perspectives from leading international experts reflecting up-to-date research thinking on the subject of biodiversity law, the crucial importance of which to human welfare is only now being fully appreciated. Through a rigorous examination of the principles, procedures and practices that characterise this area of law, this timely volume effectively highlights its objectives, implementation, achievements, and prospects. Presenting thematic rather than regime-based coverage, the editors demonstrate the state-of-the-art of current research and identify future research needs and directions.

Chapter 6: Broad-spectrum efforts to enhance the conservation of vulnerable marine ecosystems

Edward J. Goodwin

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, public international law


This chapter seeks to provide an overarching insight into the initiatives being pursued by international law for advancing the conservation of marine ecosystems that are perceived to be in a vulnerable position. As will be described, humankind’s mark upon marine ecosystems is so extensive that arguably there is no part of the ocean that is not vulnerable in some way and to some degree, in the short or long term. This fact demands wide-reaching broad-spectrum action to address the underlying drivers. Nevertheless, the author has observed elsewhere that a necessary complement to this is that scientists and governments need to have systems in place to identify instances of marine ecosystems that are suffering particularly badly, so that targeted treatment can be deployed. Such focused responses are complementary and significant. For instance, international support in response to such events might provide increased capacity – in terms of knowledge, expertise or financing. Furthermore, international engagement in developments might raise the priority given to the conservation of a site in the face of competing claims upon limited national resources. Whilst the author therefore regards legal initiatives as falling along a continuum, from macro to micro level action, this chapter takes advantage of the opportunity presented to focus upon, and look in more detail at, the broad-spectrum responses of international law. That said, mention will still be made of the systems available to catch emergency cases.

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