Wetland Law and Policy: Overview

  • C. Max Finlayson
  • Royal C. Gardner
Reference work entry


The term “wetland law and policy” refers to the legally related rules developed by governments that pertain to activities that affect wetlands. When used in a general sense, wetland law and policy encompasses a broad range of instruments, including “…legislation, such as statutes, acts, decrees, and ordinances; regulations and other rules promulgated by agencies that have the force of law; and policies, which depending on the jurisdiction may also have the force of the law or may merely provide principles or rules that guide a decision-making process.” It can also include judicial decisions that apply or interpret the legislation, regulations, and policies. Wetland law and policy may govern activities that have the potential to harm wetlands as well as activities that may benefit wetlands and the ecosystem services they provide.


Wetland law Wetland policy Legislation Policies 


  1. Armenteras D, Finlayson CM. Biodiversity. In: UNEP, editor. Keeping track of our changing environment: from Rio to Rio+20 (1992–2012). Nairobi: Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); 2012.Google Scholar
  2. Bruch C. Is international environmental law really “Law”?: an analysis of application in domestic courts. Pace Environ Law Rev. 2006;23:423–64.Google Scholar
  3. Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties. Strategic plan for biodiversity 2011–2020: Decision X/2. Nagoya; 2010.Google Scholar
  4. Everard M, Dick J, Kendall H, Smith RI, Slee RW, Couldrick L, Scott M, MacDonald C. Improving coherence of ecosystem service provision between scales. Ecosys Ser. 2014. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.04.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Finlayson CM, Thurtell L, Storrs MJ, Applegate R, Barrow P, Wellings P. Local communities and wetland management in the Australian wet-dry tropics. In: W.D. W, editor. Wetlands in a dry land: Understanding for management. Canberra: Environment Australia/Biodiversity Group; 1998. p. 299–311.Google Scholar
  6. Finlayson CM. Forty years of wetland conservation and wise use. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshwat Ecosyst. 2012;22:139–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Finlayson CM, Davidson N, Pritchard D, Milton GR, MacKay H. The Ramsar Convention and ecosystem-based approaches to the wise use and sustainable development of wetlands. J Int Wildl Law Pol. 2011;14:176–98.Google Scholar
  8. Gardner RC, Bonells M, Okuno E, Zarama JM. Avoiding, mitigating, and compensating for loss and degradation of wetlands in national laws and policies. Ramsar Scientific and Technical Briefing Note no. 3. Gland: Ramsar Convention Secretariat; 2012.Google Scholar
  9. Gardner RC, Calabrese S, Knudsen G, Pasheilich G. Legal brief on legal preparedness for achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets: United States of America, Wetland and Stream Mitigation Banking. Rome: IDLO; in press.Google Scholar
  10. Gardner RC. Lawyers, swamps, and money: U.S, Wetland law, policy, and politics. Washington, DC: Island Press; 2011. 255pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gardner RC. Rehabilitating nature: A comparative review of legal mechanisms that encourage wetland restoration efforts. Catholic Univ Law Rev. 2003;52(3):573–620.Google Scholar
  12. National Research Council. Compensating for wetland losses under the Clean Water Act. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2001.Google Scholar
  13. Ramsar Convention Conference of the Parties. Resolution X.17, Environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment: updated scientific and technical guidance. Changwon; 2008.Google Scholar
  14. Ramsar Convention Conference of the Parties. Resolution XI.9, An integrated framework and guidelines for avoiding, mitigating and compensating for wetland losses. Bucharest; 2012.Google Scholar
  15. Shelton D. Introduction. In: International law and domestic legal systems: incorporation, transformation, and persuasion. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2011. p. 1–22.Google Scholar
  16. United States Department of Agriculture. Restoring America’s wetlands: a private lands conservation success story. Washington, DC: Wetlands Reserve Program; 2011. 16pp.Google Scholar
  17. Wood C. Environmental impact assessment: a comparative review. 2nd ed, New York, NY: Pearson/Prentice Hall; 2003. 405pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Land, Water and SocietyCharles Sturt UniversityAlburyAustralia
  2. 2.UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water EducationDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institute for Biodiversity Law and PolicyStetson University College of LawGulfportUSA

Personalised recommendations