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The ecosystem approach embodies a concept of the environment which emphasizes the integrated components of nature as complex adaptive systems. This book examines the relationship between the architecture and design of environmental law and the implementation of the ecosystem approach as a means to maintain ecological integrity. The main issue addressed is: in which manner and to what extent does fragmentation and administrative discretion in environmental law impede the implementation of an ecosystem approach?
This is explored through analysis of several questions: what is an ecosystem approach and how could it be implemented; how can economic evaluation of ecosystem services contribute to the debate; to what extent is environmental law fragmented and how does this affect the implementation of the ecosystem approach; to what extent does environmental law contain administrative discretion and how does this affect the implementation of the ecosystem approach; is there a need for greater consistency, coherence and a stronger rule of law in environmental law in light of the ecosystem approach? The main focus is on Europe, with additional international comparisons where appropriate. The book concludes by providing a normative portrayal of future environmental law as protective, systemic and predictable.