An interdisciplinary research initiative about law and biodiversity conservation


Following the rise of environmental movements in the 1970s, environmental laws are currently credited with numerous successes in protecting species. Legislation functions to designate and protect habitats, ensure strict protection of vulnerable species populations from a range of threats, and regulate the sustainable use of more robust populations. For biodiversity conservation in Europe, Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds and Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora have had a positive impact on species’ conservation status. In the United States, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 is similarly credited with having been instrumental in the recovery of many listed species. Our research aims to better quantify the conservation effectiveness of laws and understand how they can be improved. We have addressed specific issues of high conservation importance.

Favorable Conservation Status

Derogations from protection



Legal innovations

  • Bétaille, J. (2021). Le préjudice écologique à l’épreuve de l’«affaire du siècle»: un succès théorique mais des difficultés pratiques. Actualité juridique du droit administratif, (38): 2228-2234.

  • Epstein, Y. & Schoukens, H. (2021). A positivist approach to rights of nature in the European Union. Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, 12(2): 205-227.

  • Bétaille, J. (2020). Rights of nature: conservation might not need another hype. 

  • Bétaille, J. (2019). Rights of Nature: Why it Might Not Save the Entire World. Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law, 16(1): 35-64.

  • Bétaille, J. (2019). Des droits pour la nature, un nouveau mirage juridique. In: Touzeil-Divina, M. (Ed.), L’arbre, l’homme & le(s) droit(s) (pp.77-87), Editions L’Epitoge.

  • Chapron, G., Epstein, Y. & López-Bao, J.V. (2019). A rights revolution for nature. Science, 363(6434): 1392-1393.

  • Treves, A., Chapron, G., López-Bao, J.V., Shoemaker, C., Goeckner, A.R. & Bruskotter, J.T. (2017). Predators and the public trust. Biological Reviews, 92(1): 248-270.

Law and public policies

International law

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