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Governing Nature: The Re-Regulation of Resources, Land-Use Planning, and Nature Conservation


  • *Direct correspondence to Dr. Andrew E. G. Jonas, Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Hull University, Kingston-upon-Hull, HU16 4PU, United Kingdom 〈〉. Andy Jonas would like to acknowledge the support of the U.S. National Science Foundation (Grant No. SBR-9874837) and the UK Economic and Social Research Council (Grant No. R000237997) for his research on urban environmental governance. Gavin Bridge would like to acknowledge the support of the U.S. National Science Foundation (Grant No. SBR 9874837) for his research on mineral investment regimes and local environmental change.

  • 1Hereafter the term “state” refers to a national or federal government as distinct from, e.g., “State of New Jersey”.


The ongoing neoliberalization of local and regional economies is contributing to quite profound changes in the ways resources, land uses, and nature are managed. Consider in this regard the changing role of the state1 within North America and Europe. For a good part of the 20th century, state intervention in land-use planning, resource management, and nature conservation was motivated primarily by national development goals, including a desire to ensure the territorial-economic integrity of the nation state. Although there is always variation within countries resulting from such factors as the uneven spatial distribution of natural resources, the variety of arrangements for allocating powers and responsibilities among territorial units of government, and different cultural attitudes toward nature, there was nonetheless a discernible trend toward the nationalization (Europe) or federalization (United States) of resource management, land-use planning, and nature conservation. At the very least, in most countries the state played a strong coordinating, regulatory, and financial role in relation to the management of nature within its territory.