This article seeks to develop the role law could play in contributing to the achievement of ecosystem resilience. Therefore, adopting Aldo Leopold’s view of conservation, by which the first step should be to understand nature, this article will begin with a brief explanation of the ecological background to the concept of ecosystem resilience. Next, the article will consider Aldo Leopold’s land ethic in order to discuss the values we should look for when implementing conservation for resilience. Regarding those values and concepts, the following part of the article will be dedicated to consolidating and contextualizing the legal principle.

In order to carry out a more detailed analysis about how the principle of resilience can be pursued in the application of the law, this article will focus on certain sectors of environmental law and policy making. Those sectors are: adaptive governance, adaptive management, environmental impact assessment, land use and climate change adaptation, and market mechanisms for conserving ecosystem services. The article will be based on cases from different parts of the world. As the adoption of the concept of resilience by law seems to be incipient in the jurisdictions of most countries, such case studies will be helpful to any jurisdiction in the world where this concept is still not effective.