Laws and Institutions in Cross-Boundary Stewardship


Laws and Institutions in Cross-Boundary Stewardship



Published as Chapter 4 in Stewardship Across Boundaries, Richard L. Knight & Peter Landres, eds.

Jurisdictional fragmentation makes cross-boundary stewardship ("CBS") essential to intelligent and efficient environmental policy. CBS depends heavily on the legal and institutional context in which it is practiced, and this paper provides an overview of laws and institutions affecting CBS in the United States. The first section discusses the basic nature of boundaries and stewardship, arguing among other things that boundaries have positive as well as negative functions. The next two sections describe the basic types of resource owners in American law and the laws governing how they interact with each other and society. Because the laws both reflect and support larger institutional structures, the fourth section outlines the broad institutional patterns which seem to describe our current legal structure. It traces a broad and halting change from bureaucratic toward networked decision structures. The fifth section highlights key areas of stress and change in the present system, focusing on four trends: (a) growing privatization of policy-making, (b) movement from rule toward discretion, (c) decentralization, (d) politicization of information. The concluding section discusses the implications of the preceding analysis and offers some suggestions for changes in laws governing information and economic cooperation.

Publication Date



Island Press




Environmental Law | International Law | Law

Laws and Institutions in Cross-Boundary Stewardship