Governing the urban wetlands: a multiple case-study of policy, institutions and reference points

Hettiarachchi, Missaka, McAlpine, Clive and Morrison, Tiffany (2014) Governing the urban wetlands: a multiple case-study of policy, institutions and reference points. Environmental Conservation, 41 3: 1-14. doi:10.1017/S0376892913000519

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Author Hettiarachchi, Missaka
McAlpine, Clive
Morrison, Tiffany
Title Governing the urban wetlands: a multiple case-study of policy, institutions and reference points
Journal name Environmental Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0376-8929
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0376892913000519
Open Access Status
Volume 41
Issue 3
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Worldwide, coastal and floodplain wetlands are rapidly urbanizing, making them highly vulnerable to biodiversity loss, biological invasion and climate change. Yet urban wetlands management is an understudied area of global environmental research. Different policy approaches and institutional arrangements in place for urban wetlands governance have to be studied comparatively to obtain a better understanding of the current issues. This paper investigates four urban wetland policy regimes and the application of ecological reference points across four countries. The regimes are discussed within the context of global policy trends, urbanization patterns and environmental change. The analysis illustrates that the four cases deviate substantially in certain characteristics and converge in others. Global trends such as environmental treaties and restructuring of city spaces are common policy drivers for all cases. Conversely, the localized specific problems have yielded specialized policy responses in each case. Declaration of fixed biological reference points for wetlands were not used at any stage of the policy development process. However, the wetland managers formally or informally set up ecosystem-services oriented benchmarks for urban wetland management. Globally-applicable normative policy directives or universal ecological reference points seem bound to fail in urban wetlands governance. However, in designing effective urban wetland policy and institutions at the regional scale, both context-specific and generalized lessons from empirical policy evaluation of multiple case studies need to be jointly considered. Based on the characteristics of the policy regimes analysed in this study, a hypothetical framework for urban wetland policy evaluation is proposed; this has yet to be validated by empirical application to actual cases.
Keyword Environmental governance
Policy development
Reference points
Urban wetlands
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2015 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 05 Nov 2013, 12:29:45 EST by Dr Tiffany Morrison on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management