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In this Symposium's initial lecture, I will (a) provide a glimpse into life in Medieval England to explain the context from which Magna Carta arose, (b) describe the evolution of environmental rights from Magna Carta to the Forest Carter, (c) explore in a case study how “liberties of the forest” functioned for 800 years in England's Royal Forest of Dean, ultimately sustaining the ecological systems of Dean, (d) discuss the “liberties of the forest” in light of Elinor Ostom's common pool analyses, and (e) offer some views on the question just posed. I shall start by describing the English environment itself in the 13th century.