Margaret Palmer and JB Ruhl’s critical review of restoration science law wins the #ESA2016 Sustainability Science Award
The Sustainability Science Award recognizes the authors of the scholarly work that makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences. Ecologist Margaret Palmer and legal scholar J.B. Ruhl tackle a critical issue in sustainability science: how the application of ecological science can be translated into effective policy that ensures the restoration of degraded ecosystems, in a 2015 review for Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
The complimentary expertise of the authors and their shared interest in restoration science and policy make this paper particularly noteworthy. Dr. Ruhl, director of Vanderbilt University’s Program on Law and Innovation and co-director of the Energy Environment and Land Use Program, has invested his career in legal and regulatory aspects of restoration and environmental science. As director of the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), Margaret Palmer, a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland and director of the National Socio-
Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), brings a transformative vision for advancing research and public understanding of sustainability science.
They make the case that, while restoration is a crucial tool that is used in environmental policy, lack of a clear ecological context for what constitutes restoration leads to confusion in implementing policy. The key, they argue, is to include consideration of establishing self-sustaining living systems and the landscape and environmental context essential to recovery. The paper presents an actionable research plan that bridges science and policy and includes specific guidance about how to best incorporate a clear and science-based definition of restoration into administrative laws.
Margaret A. Palmer and J.B. Ruhl (2015) Aligning restoration science and the law to sustain ecological infrastructure for the future. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13: 512–519. DOI:10.1890/150053
ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.
Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master post.