Scielo RSS <![CDATA[PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad]]> vol. 16 num. 2 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[PER 2013(16)2 Editorial Special Edition]]> <![CDATA[<b>Payment for ecosystem services</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Introduction to topic "Towards the legal recognition and governance of ecosystem services"</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Ecosystem services and international water law</b>: <b>towards a more effective determination and implementation of equity?</b>]]> Interest in an ecological- or an ecosystem-centred approach to natural resource management is not new, and in the case of water management has been very well emphasised for many decades. Recently however, a new focus has emerged around the identification and assessment of ecosystem services, and the potential to somehow use valuation of these services as a basis for more effective management of natural and human-linked systems. Despite this growing recognition, attempts to apply such an approach to transboundary watercourses are few and far between. While key principles of international water law, for example, equitable and reasonable utilisation, are not in conflict with an ecosystem services approach; significant challenges remain in its implementation. However, as the methods and tools used to identify ecosystem services improve, it is likely that such an approach will offer an important means by which to reconcile competing interests over shared watercourses in the future. <![CDATA[<b>Law, the laws of nature and ecosystem energy services: a case of wilful blindness</b>]]> Ecosystems services include the collection, concentration, and storage of solar energy as fossil fuels (e.g., coal, petroleum, and natural gas). These concentrated forms of energy were produced by ancient ecosystem services. However, our legal and economic systems fail to recognise the value of the ecosystem service subsidies embedded in fossil fuels. This ecosystem services price subsidy causes overuse and waste of fossil fuels in the free market: fossil fuels are consumed more quickly than they can be replaced by ecosystem services and in far larger quantities than they would be if the price of fossil fuels included the cost of solar energy collection, concentration and manufacturing of raw fossil fuels. Moreover, burning fossil fuels produces enormous environmental, human health and welfare costs and damage. Virtually no legal literature on ecosystem services, sustainable development, or sustainable energy, considers fossil fuels in this context. Without understanding stored energy as an ecosystem service, we cannot reasonably expect to manage our fossil fuel energy resources sustainably. International and domestic energy law and policy systems generally ignore this feature of fossil fuel energy, a blind spot that explains why reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels is fundamentally a political challenge. This paper will use new understandings emerging from the field of complex systems to critique existing legal decision-making models that do not adequately account for energy ecosystem services in policy design, resource allocation and project approvals. The paper proposes a new "least-social-cost" decision-making legal structure that includes ecosystem energy services. <![CDATA[<b>Towards the legal recognition and governance of forest ecosystem services in Mozambique</b>]]> Within the context of Mozambique, this paper examines the state of forest ecosystem services, the dependency of the population on these systems for their well-being, if an adaptive governance regime is being created which will ensure the resilience of the forest ecosystem services including the legal framework, the institutions operating within this framework, the tools available and their functioning, and how cooperative governance is operating. <![CDATA[<b>Protecting ecosystems by way of biological control: cursory reflections on the main regulatory instruments for biological control agents, present and future</b>]]> Although there are numerous threats to ecosystems and the resultant ecosystem services, alien and invasive plants (AIP) have been identified as being one of the major causes of ecosystem destruction. In addressing the threat of alien and invasive plants through the use of various mechanisms, the regulatory framework imposed by legislation is key in ensuring that that controlling AIPs does in fact not do more harm than good. One such control mechanism, which has the potential to do wonders or wreak havoc if not adroitly implemented, is that of using biological control agents. This contribution provides a brief overview on the three main regulatory instruments used to control biological control agents in South Africa, namely the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act 43 of 1983, the Agricultural Pests Act 36 of 1983 and the National Environmental Management. Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004. It also considers possible future developments on the regulation of biological control agents.