University of Surrey Institute of Advanced Studies

University of Surrey


Regulatory and Institutional Frameworks for Markets for Ecosystem Services

6 June 2012 - 7 June 2012


The Environmental Regulatory Research Group at the School of Law, University of Surrey; the Centre for Environmental Strategy in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey and the Environmental Law Program at The George Washington Law School (with support from the J.B. and Maurice Shapiro Environmental Conference Fund) will host an international interdisciplinary workshop on regulatory and institutional frameworks for markets for ecosystems services to be held at the School of Law, University of Surrey on 6-7 June 2012.

About the topic

There is increasing recognition that using markets to protect and restore ecosystems and their capacity to provide services is crucial to preserving and maintaining biodiversity as well as reducing the impact of human-induced climate change. Whilst the assessment and valuation of these services has received extensive analysis and advanced assessment tools have been developed by conservation biologists different skills must be brought to bear to translate these assessments into institutional and regulatory systems that can protect and enhance ecosystem services. Consequently, mature methods for analysing and establishing robust institutional and regulatory frameworks that can lead to secure market-based conservation practices are still in their early stages of development. It is clear that regulatory and institutional innovation capable of making ecosystem protection profitable for private decision makers and revenue generative for the guardian communities is essential in realising the economic value of those systems and their services; and securing the imperative to protect and restore.

The Workshop

This workshop seeks to contribute to research and learning on the law and policy on ecosystems services by focusing on the regulatory and institutional challenges in creating markets for ecosystems services. Using markets to protect and restore ecosystems–and the many services they provide–is gradually gaining policy and institutional legitimacy. But what are the critical regulatory and institutional considerations? What forms are being pursued to ensure success and ease of adoption? What regulatory and institutional commonalities are emerging; and what are the prospects for converging these? What are the successful institutional and regulatory design features? What challenges remain in order to achieve these?

The workshop goal is to enable outcome-oriented interaction between experts, innovators, and front-end users of these evolving market models to learn about recent progress, what strategies can be adopted to encourage cross-learning between different models for regulatory and institutional frameworks, and how to design new institutional and regulatory mechanisms that can help preserve ecosystem services? The workshop will enable the development of collaborative projects between participants on the elaboration of methodological tools for the development of regulatory and institutional frameworks for ecosystems services.

The program will take place over 2 days at Surrey and will be hosted by eminent scholars and practitioners from around the world–thereby providing comprehensive information and networking opportunities for front-end project developers and managers, landowners, policymakers, and academics.

We seek a range of papers, including those arising from empirically-based fieldwork, action research or reflective and philosophical inquiry that investigates key aspects of regulatory and institutional frameworks for markets for ecosystems services as well as law and policy-based analyses of the advantages and disadvantages of market-based approaches to protecting ecosystem services.

Workshop themes

Some topics of interest include:
  • Critiques of the latest concepts in developing markets for ecosystem services;
  • Examination of international case studies on markets involving ecosystem assets and services;
  • The consideration of questions regarding appropriate avenues of public participation in the design and operation of markets for ecosystems services;
  • Identification of potential partners and investments associated with emerging markets for carbon, water management and biodiversity habitat;
  • Considerations of the role of legitimacy, accountability and equity in institutional and regulatory design
  • Proposals for new legislative or regulatory mechanisms that would place a price on ecosystems services and provide payments to preserve those services
  • Identification of methodologies that highlight institutional and policy lock-ins that prevent markets in ecosystems services from working efficiently and equitably and suggestions for strategies for unpicking those lock-ins.

The workshop is intended to bring together scientists, lawyers, economists and policy makers from academic institutions, government, non-governmental organisations and private business to discuss policy-leading theoretical and practical aspects of the design and maintenance of regulatory and institutional frameworks for markets for ecosystem services.

Confirmed speakers

  • Prof Alison Clarke, School of Law, University of Surrey, UK
  • Prof Veerle Heyveart, Law Department, London School of Economics, UK
  • Prof Ana Maria Nusdeo, Faculty of Law, University of San Paulo, Brazil
  • Prof Colin Reid, School of Law, Dundee University Law School, UK
  • Prof Sue White, School of Applied Sciences, Cranfield University, UK
  • Dr Stuart Whitten, CSIRO Ecosystems Services, Australia


Abstracts for poster presentations, short papers (10 minutes) and research papers (20 minutes) on these themes will be accepted until 31 January 2012. They should be a maximum of 300 words, in English. Please submit your abstract by using the submission form below.

Notification of acceptance will be sent by 15 February 2012.
Deadline for registration is 1 May 2012.


For Call for Papers queries, please contact Dr Thoko Kaime (
For administrative matters, please contact Ms Mirela Dumic (


Dr Thoko Kaime, Environmental Regulatory Research Group, School of Law, University of Surrey
Dr Jonathan Chenoweth, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey

Abstract Submission

Abstract Submission is now closed