Claws & Laws

About us

Just over three decades ago, the new discipline of conservation biology emerged to confront the loss of biodiversity. That discipline succeeded in delivering answers to many ecological questions about how to address this crisis. Unfortunately, these results have not been sufficient to reverse the trend towards species extinctions. New approaches are needed to promote biodiversity.

Conservation scholars often ignore the legal factors that impact the success or failure of conservation. This absence of a legal perspective in conservation is a critical omission because life scientists acting alone are unlikely to halt species extinctions. Indeed, the science of conservation biology could likely end today without a noticeable impact on biodiversity. However, if nature protection laws lapsed today, the impact on biodiversity would be immediate and devastating.

By grounding law in ecological knowledge and more systematically using law to steer conservation practices, the impact of legal instruments for biodiversity conservation may be strengthened and leveraged. Considering the unprecedented scale of the biodiversity crisis, walls between law and conservation science must be broken down through the development of transdisciplinary methods. Claws and Laws contributes to the development of this new field of scholarship.

The core group of Claws & Laws consists of three researchers:

Guillaume Chapron

Associate Professor (docent) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, he leads Claws & Laws and focuses specially on the ecology side. Initially trained at a veterinarian, he has a master and a doctorate in ecology and a graduate diploma in political sciences. He uses a diversity of methods and disciplines, ranging from Bayesian state space models to legal analyses to answer questions at the core of contemporary conservation challenges, with particular emphasis on the conservation of large carnivores. He is a member of the Ethics Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law.
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Yaffa Epstein

Researcher and teacher, Uppsala University faculty of law, and leading the legal side of Claws & Laws. Her work explores the relationship between law and natural science as well as the interaction between international, EU and national environmental law. Her research focus has been interdisciplinary, bringing ecology into law. Courses taught include legal philosophy, legal history, environmental law and EU law.
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José Vicente López-Bao

Ramón y Cajal researcher at Oviedo University, Spain, he is interested in the integration of quantitative and multidisciplinary approaches to achieve solutions to conservation and management problems, with particular interest in human-wildlife interactions, and large carnivores in human-dominated landscapes.
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Our work is done in collaboration with several colleagues, especially:

Anna Christiernsson

Associate Professor (docent) at Stockholm University. Her research focuses on the legal protection of biodiversity and has to a large extent been interdisciplinary, focusing in particular on the relationship between law and ecology. She teaches national, EU and international environmental law. She is a member of the Swedish scientific council on biodiversity and ecosystem.

Grzegorz Mikusiński

Associate Professor (docent) at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. His research focuses on biodiversity conservation and management. Birds are the main taxonomic group and forests are the main environment he studies. He cooperates with a broad network of conservation scientists in Sweden, Poland and Nepal and has been acting as associate editor of the journal Biodiversity and Conservation since 2011. He acted as an expert at the European Court of Justice in the case against Poland concerning management of the old-growth Białowieża Forest.
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Julien Bétaille

Associate Professor (Maître de conferences) in public law at the Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, France. He is co-director of a Master degree in environmental law. His research focuses on the theoretical dimensions of environmental law, with emphasis on environmental democracy, access to justice and environmental constitutionalism. He is the French representative of the International Centre of Comparative Environmental Law and member of the Environmental Law and Policy commission of the French IUCN Committee.
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Funders and projects

Our research takes place through several research projects funded by the Swedish Research Council VR, the Swedish Research Council Formas, the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. This is initative is a follow-up of a now completed project (2013-2017) also called Claws & Laws.

Website of Claws & Laws. Developed by Guillaume Chapron © 2019