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Ecosystem Services Ruhls

News Story

Vanderbilt Law Distinguished Chair J.B. Ruhl goes in defense of ecosystem services at the annual Garrison Lecture on March 26 at the Law School.

The concept of ecosystem services roared into the policy world in the mid-1990s and has been going strong since. It asks us to recognize a rather obvious proposition—that functioning ecosystems provide valuable services to human populations, such as storm surge protection from dunes and groundwater recharge from wetlands—and to incorporate those values into land use and resource management decisions. Yet, like many marriages, this one between economic and ecologic perspectives has attracted critics from both of the families.

On Wednesday, March 26, Pace Law School will host the annual Lloyd K. Garrison Lecture on Environmental Law at 5:00 p.m. in the Gerber Glass Moot Court Room at the Law School, featuring J.B. Ruhl, David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law, Co-director, Energy, Environment, and Land Use Program 
at Vanderbilt Law School, who will trace the arc of ecosystem services to the present, explain where it sits in law today, and describe and respond to the critiques from both sides. He will conclude by developing a set of principles for responsible use of ecosystem services in land use and resource management policy. 

J.B. Ruhl is an expert in environmental law, land use, and property law. Before he joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty as the David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law in 2011, he was the Matthews & Hawkins Professor of Property at the Florida State University College of Law, where he had taught since 1999. His influential scholarly articles on environmental law relating to climate change, the Endangered Species Act, ecosystems, federal public lands, and other land use and environmental issues have appeared in California Law Review, Duke Law Review, Georgetown Law Review, Stanford Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, and specialty environment journals at several top law schools. His works have been selected by peers as among the best law review articles in the field of environmental law eight times from 1989 to 2013.

Held annually, the Garrison Lecture celebrates the vision, public spirit, and life of Lloyd K. Garrison, an attorney whose legal acumen led citizens in their successful advocacy of environmental quality in the landmark decision to preserve Storm King Mountain on the Hudson River. This victory for the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference did more than safeguard "an area of unique beauty and major historical importance"—it inaugurated what today we recognize as the field of environmental law.