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Environmental Law

Environmental Law (9th edn)

Stuart Bell, Donald McGillivray, Ole Pedersen, Emma Lees, and Elen Stokes
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date: 07 December 2023

p. 70319. The conservation of naturelocked

p. 70319. The conservation of naturelocked

  • Stuart Bell, Stuart BellProfessor of Law and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of York
  • Donald McGillivray, Donald McGillivrayProfessor of Environmental Law, University of Sussex
  • Ole W. Pedersen, Ole W. PedersenReader in Environmental Law, Newcastle University
  • Emma LeesEmma LeesUniversity Lecturer in Environmental and Property Law, University of Cambridge
  •  and Elen StokesElen StokesProfessorial Research Fellow in Law, University of Birmingham


This chapter looks at the laws that aim specifically to protect plants, animals, the natural habitats—and, increasingly, the ecosystems—of which they are a part. This is an important part of environmental law, not least because of the appalling rate of decline in, and loss of, the natural environment, but also due to the obvious public interest in conserving biodiversity. Using the law to conserve nature, however, involves finding solutions to some complex policy issues. Finding space for species and habitats to be conserved often clashes with other legitimate social interests, such as economic development and respect for private property. These tensions—which mean that nature conservation law can be a controversial policy area—are a central theme of the chapter.

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