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This casebook offers a view of natural resources law rich in history, yet exposing students to the complexities of practicing natural resources law in the 21st century. Given that the focus of most Natural Resources Law casebooks is public lands and public law (often at the federal level), this casebook is unique in its primary focus on natural resource conflicts on private lands and its significant focus on private law (though public law is also a focus). While we include chapters on federal public lands and areas of federal primacy like wetlands regulation and endangered species protection, our focus is largely on natural resources law in states that are not dominated by federal public lands, since sixty percent of the land in the United States is privately owned. We therefore think the book is especially appropriate for students in states east of the 100th meridian.

Although we address particular resources separately -- including private and public rights in waterways (including the public trust doctrine), wetlands, wildlife, water, minerals, forests, grazing, recreation, and renewable resources -- we draw frequent comparisons of the law's treatment of natural resources to allow students to analyze the consistency or inconsistency of natural resources law across diverse subject areas. For example, with some regularity we offer comparisons of those natural resources that are allocated on a first-in-time principle as opposed to those dispensed according to notions of reasonable use. We also compare management regimes throughout, including non-governmental decision making.

We make an effort to build on the students' studies of common law doctrines like trespass, nuisance, and servitude law to show how they influence the use, development, and preservation of natural resources. The question of development vs. preservation is a persistent issue, and the constitutional takings issue is another repeated theme.



Publication Date



West Publishing Company


St. Paul, MN


natural resources law, water law, wildlife law, mining law, oil and gas law, renewable resources law, public trust doctrine, wetlands protection, forestry law, recreation, legal history


Animal Law | Energy and Utilities Law | Environmental Law | Legal History | Natural Resources Law | Water Law


Preface and Chapter 1.

Natural Resources Law: Private Rights and the Public Interest



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