Forest and Natural Resources Law   [Archived Catalog]
2018-2019 School of Law Bulletin

LAWS 664 - Forest and Natural Resources Law

Credits: 3

This course explores the law and policy governing use and conservation of natural resources, such as forests, minerals, water, and wildlife. Natural resources laws and policies must balance conservation, environmental objectives, economic development, recreational use, and other priorities among various groups of users and between current and future generations. In doing so, they incorporate insights from science, economics, politics, and ethics.  While legal regimes differ greatly, similar issues arise on both public and private lands.

In studying this body of law, the course will focus on a single ecosystem - forests, particularly privately-owned forests in the Southeast US. This focus allows the wide variety of relevant legal tools to be explored in a consistent context, and avoids substantial overlap with courses covering specific areas of natural resources law (such as Water Law and Energy Law). The theories and doctrines studied will, however, have applications beyond forests and beyond the Southeast. In particular, we will study the National Forest Management Act, Endangered Species Act, and common law doctrines such as trespass, nuisance, and easements (including conservation easements).  As part of our study, we will also examine theories of natural resources problems, including the tragedy of the commons, and solutions, including regulation and privatization.

The course is relevant and useful for students interested in environmental law as well as private real estate practice - the course will consider the implications of natural resources law for both long-term environmental goals and individual land transactions and management practices.

Note: Students who have taken Environmental Law of Natural Resources may not enroll in this course.

Basis of Grade: Class participation, short writing assignments, and final exam

Form of Grade: Letter