Melinda Harm Benson

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Environmental law plays a key role in shaping policy for sustainability of social-ecological systems. In particular, the types of legal instruments, institutions, and the response of law to the inherent variability in social-ecological systems are critical. Sustainability likely must occur via the institutions we have in place, combined with alterations in(More)
The concept of resilience is now frequently invoked by natural resource agencies in the US. This reflects growing trends within ecology, conservation biology, and other disciplines acknowledging that social-ecological systems require management approaches recognizing their complexity. In this paper, we examine the concept of resilience and the manner in(More)
Law plays an essential role in shaping natural resource and environmental policy, but unfortunately, many environmental laws were developed around the prevailing scientific understanding that there was a “balance of nature” that could be managed and sustained. This view assumes that natural resource managers have the capacity to predict the behavior of(More)
Panarchy provides a heuristic to characterize the cross-scale dynamics of social-ecological systems and a framework for how governance institutions should behave to be compatible with the ecosystems they manage. Managing for resilience will likely require reform of law to account for the dynamics of social-ecological systems and achieve a substantive(More)
Current governance of regional scale water management systems in the United States has not placed them on a path toward sustainability, as conflict and gridlock characterize the social arena and ecosystem services continue to erode. Changing climate may continue this trajectory, but it also provides a catalyst for renewal of ecosystems and a window of(More)
While adaptive management (AM) is becoming a preferred natural resource management approach, the conditions necessary to engage in AM are not always present. In order for AM to work, there must be an ability to engage in experimentation and then incorporate what is learned. Just as few rivers are unequivocally either “runnable” or “unrunnable” by a(More)
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