About the event

Coastal wetlands provide a host of critical services to our ecosystems. Whilst these ecosystem services are well recognised in science and economics, these values are not uniformly reflected in law and policy in Australia.

Featuring two of the United States’ leading scholars in this area, this public lecture will provide insights on how ecosystem services are being integrated into law and policy in the context of the American legal system.

Professor James Salzman and Professor J. B. Ruhl will together demonstrate how legislatures, agencies, and courts effectively address these services, but under different names. They will also breakdown what this means for Australia, and what key barriers might be expected for wider adoption of a uniform framework.


About the speakers

Professor James Salzman

James Salzman is the Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law with joint appointments at the UCLA School of Law and at the Bren School of the Environment at UC Santa Barbara. He formerly held joint appointments at Duke University as the Samuel F. Mordecai Professor of Law and Nicholas Institute Professor of Environmental Policy.

In twelve books and more than 100 articles and book chapters, his broad-ranging scholarship has addressed topics spanning drinking water, trade and environment conflicts, policy instrument design, and the legal and institutional issues in creating markets for ecosystem services.

A 2012 study by Phillips and Yoo ranked him as the fifth most cited environmental law professor in the field. There have been over 100,000 downloads of his articles.


Professor J. B. Ruhl

Professor J. B. Ruhl is an expert in environmental, natural resources and property law, and also studies the legal industry and legal technology. He was named director of Vanderbilt's Program on Law and Innovation in 2014 and serves as the Co-director of the Energy, Environment and Land Use Program.  Before he joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty as the David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law in 2011, he was the Matthews & Hawkins Professor of Property at the Florida State University College of Law, where he had taught since 1999. 

His influential scholarly articles relating to climate change, the Endangered Species Act, ecosystems, governance, and other environmental and natural resources law issues have appeared in the California, Duke, Georgetown, Stanford and Vanderbilt law reviews, the environmental law journals at several top law schools and peer-reviewed scientific journals. His works have been selected by peers as among the best law review articles in the field of environmental law ten times from 1989 to 2016. 


Associate Professor Justine Bell-James

Justine Bell-James is an Associate Professor at UQ’s School of Law, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the areas of environmental law and property law. Justine completed a PhD at the Queensland University of Technology in 2010, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland from 2011-2013. Her interdisciplinary postdoctoral research considered legal, policy and insurance responses to coastal hazards and sea-level rise. Justine's current research focuses on legal mechanisms for the protection of the coast under climate change, incorporating both human settlements and coastal ecosystems. She currently leads an ARC Discovery Project (2019-2021) considering how wetland ecosystem services can be integrated into legal frameworks. Justine is also particularly interested in how the law can facilitate 'blue carbon' projects in Australia and internationally.


Global Change Institute (Building 20)
Staff House Rd, Brisbane City, QLD 4067