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The Lorax Project: Understanding Ecosystemic Politics

Project description

The politics of ‘speaking for’ border-crossing ecosystems

Nature knows no borders. For instance, currents move plastic litter from its point of origin – perhaps a carrier bag blown into sea outside a tourist town in the UK – to the distant shores of the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic. Likewise, the Amazon is crucial to life and livelihoods in the rainforest and also of importance to the global climate. The EU-funded LORAX project explores border-crossing ecosystems to expand our understanding of global political architecture and of how shared, border-crossing problems are managed. The findings will be used to better understand the broad political consequences of states ‘clubbing together’ to support ecosystems of the Arctic Ocean, the Amazon Basin and the Caspian Sea.


The Lorax project is a comparative effort to expand our understanding of global political architecture through the consideration of a potential set of ‘missing cases’, namely supranational policy fields organized around regional ecosystems. The project explores this question: Do regional politics around national border-crossing ecosystems share important resemblances and differ in significant ways from global politics? To address this question, the Lorax project analyzes the networks of actors, hierarchies between actors and diplomatic norms of the governance fields that have grown up around efforts to ‘speak for’ border-crossing ecosystems in three locations – the Arctic Ocean, the Amazon Basin, and the Caspian Sea.

‘Ecosystemic politics’ is meant to indicate regional-level political efforts justified by the shared management or discussion of collectively acknowledged ‘border-crossing’ ecosystems. Frequently, the political cooperation may be on issues that would be seen as environmental or regulatory politics relating to the ecosystem itself, but ecosystemic politics is not, by definition, limited to such questions of environmental politics. Rather, the word ‘ecosystemic’ gives the Lorax team a sense of where to look without presupposing the interests and issues that engaged actors may bring to those regional interactions.

The project aims to generate new insights about the architecture and dynamics of global governance by rigorously researching and then comparing three cases of policy fields around national border-crossing ecosystems. The team will consist of the PI, a postdoc, a PhD and additional senior researcher capacity as needed. An ambitious, but achievable, publication plan (9 articles, 1 book) is mapped out to ensure rigorous finalization of results and dissemination to social science fields engaged with supranational governance questions.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 496 848,00
C j hambros plass 2d
0164 Oslo

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Norge Oslo og Viken Oslo
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)