Headshot of David Takacs

David Takacs

Professor of Law


Professor David Takacs is a proud UC Law SF alumnus. He also holds an LL.M. from the School of Oriental & African Studies at the University of London, and a B.S. (Biology), M.A., and Ph.D. (Science & Technology Studies) from Cornell University.

His scholarly work addresses forest carbon offsetting, biodiversity conservation law, environmental and ecological democracy, rights for nature, and the human right to water. He is the author of The Idea of Biodiversity (Johns Hopkins U. Press). He has been a consultant for international NGOs and US government agencies, analyzing legal and policy issues pertaining to REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) and global climate change. In 2017, he received the Rutter Award for Outstanding Teaching at UC Law SF.

Before his legal career, David was a professor in Earth Systems Science & Policy at CSU Monterey Bay, a lecturer in the John S. Knight Writing Program at Cornell, and a Peace Corps Forestry Volunteer in Senegal.



Journal Articles

  • Wolf Law, 41 UCLA J. Envtl. L. and Pol’y 39 (2023) (with Jesse Honig). FULLTEXT
  • Adapting to a 4℃ World, 52 Envtl. L. Rep. 10211 (2022) (with Karrigan Börk et al.). SSRN URL
  • Standing for Rivers, Mountains – and Trees – in the Anthropocene, 1470 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1469 (2022). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • U.S. State-Based Wilderness Law: An Evaluation, 28 Hastings Envtl. L.J. 25 (2022) (with Miranda Holeton). FULLTEXT
  • Environmental Law, Disrupted by COVID-19, 51 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10509 (2021) (with Rebecca M. Bratspies, et al.). SSRN
  • We Are the River, 2021 U. Ill. L. Rev. 545 (2021). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • Wilderness Law in the Anthropocene: Purism or Pragmatism, 51 Envtl. L. 38 (2021) (with Phillipa C. McCormack, Benjamin J. Richardson, & Kees Bastmeijer). FULLTEXT
  • An Aye Aye for an Aye Aye: Making Biodiversity Offsets Sustainable, 45 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 519 (2020). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • Environmental Law. Disrupted, 49 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10038 (2019) (with Inara Scott, Rebecca Bratspies, Vanessa Casado Pérez, Robin Kundis Craig, Keith Hirokawa, Blake Hudson, Sarah Krakoff, Katrina Fischer Kuh, Jessica Owley, Melissa Powers, Shannon Roesler, Jonathan Rosenbloom, J.B. Ruhl, and Erin Ryan). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • Whose Voices Count in Biodiversity Conservation? Ecological Democracy in Biodiversity Offsetting, REDD , and Rewilding, 22 J. Env. Pol’y & Plan. 43 (2019). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • Are Koalas Fungible: Biodiversity Offsetting and the Law, 26 N.Y.U. Envtl. L.J. 161 (2018). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • Beyond Zero-sum Environmentalism, 47 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10328 (2017) (with Shalanda Baker, Robin Kundis Craig, John Dernbach, Keith Hirokawa, Sarah Krakoff, Jessica Owley, Melissa Powers, Shannon Roesler, Jonathan Rosenbloom, J.B. Ruhl, Jim Salzman, & Inara Scott). FULLTEXT
  • South Africa and the Human Right to Water: Equity, Ecology, and the Public Trust Doctrine, 34 Berkeley J. Int’l L. 55 (2016). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • A Response to the IPCC Fifth Assessment, 45 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10027 (2015) (The authors collectively engaged in this project as the Environmental Law Collaborative). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • Introduction: Changing Law for a Changing Climate, 66 Hastings L.J. 513 (2015). FULLTEXT
  • Environmental Democracy and Forest Carbon (REDD ), 44 Envtl. L. 71 (2014). SSRN
  • Protecting Your Environment, Exacerbating Justice: Avoiding “Mandate Havens”, 24 Duke Envtl. L. & Pol’y F. 315 (2014). FULLTEXT
  • Forest Carbon (REDD+), Repairing International Trust, and Reciprocal Contractual Sovereignty, 37 Vt. L. Rev. 653 (2013). FULLTEXT
  • Measuring, Monitoring, Reporting, and Verifying (MMRV): Negotiating Trust in Transnational Contracts for REDD, 106 Am. Soc’y Int’l L. Proc. 518 (2012). FULLTEXT
  • Forest Carbon Projects and International Law: A Deep Equity Legal Analysis, 22 Geo. Int’l Envtl. L. Rev. 521 (2010). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • Carbon Into Gold: Forest Carbon Offsets, Climate Change Adaptation, and International Law, 15 Hastings W.–Nw. J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 39 (2009). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • The Public Trust Doctrine, Environmental Human Rights, and the Future of Private Property, 16 N.Y.U. Envtl. L.J. 711 (2008). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • From Is to Should: Helping Students Translate Conservation Biology Into Conservation Policy, 20 Conservation Biology 1342 (2006) (with Daniel F. Shapiro & William D. Head). SSRN
  • How Does Your Positionality Bias Your Epistemology?, 19 Thought & Action 27 (Summer 2003). FULLTEXT URL
  • Positionality, Epistemology, and Social Justice in the Classroom, 29 Soc. Just. 168 (2002). URL
  • Using History to Inform Political Participation in a California History Course, 2002 Radical Hist. Rev. 138 (Fall 2002) (with Gerald Shenk). FULLTEXT
Chapters In Books

  • Environmental Law: Rivers with Rights, in The Judges’ Book vol. 6, Art. 8 (UC Law 2023). URL
  • Aggressive Solutions to Disrupt Biodiversity Loss, in Environmental Law, Disrupted. 59 (Keith Hirokawa & Jessica Owley eds., Envtl. L. Inst. 2021). AMAZON
  • Environmental Law Disrupted by COVID-19, in Environmental Law, Disrupted. 279 (Keith Hirokawa & Jessica Owley eds., Envtl. L. Inst. 2021) (with Rebecca Batspries et al.). AMAZON
  • Deep Equity, Nonzero-Sum Environmentalism, and a Sustainable Planet, in Beyond Zero-Sum Environmentalism 111 (Sarah Krakoff, Melissa Powers, & Jonathan Rosenbloom eds., Env. L. Inst. 2019). URL
  • Flexible Conservation in Uncertain Times, in Contemporary Issues in Climate Change Law and Policy: Essays Inspired by the IPCC 65 (Robin Kundis Craig and Stephen R. Miller, eds., Env. L. Inst. 2016) (with Jessica Owley). CATALOG URL
  • Water Sector Reform and Principles of International Environmental Law, in Water Law for the Twenty-First Century: National and International Aspects of Water Law Reform in India 260 (Philippe Cullet et al. eds., Routledge 2009). AMAZON URL
  • A Pragmatic, Co-operative Approach To Teaching Environmental Ethics, in Teaching Environmental Ethics 93 (Clare Palmer ed., Brill 2006) (with Daniel F. Shapiro). AMAZON
  • Historical Awareness of Biodiversity, in 3 Encyclopedia of Biodiversity 363 (Simon Levin ed., Academic Press 2001). AMAZON
Book Reviews

  • Book Review, 55 Law & Soc’y Rev. 218 (2021) (reviewing Jennifer Telesca, Red Gold: The Managed Extinction of the Giant Bluefin Tuna (2020)). URL
  • Book Review, 16 L. Env’t & Dev. J. (2020) (reviewing Dina L Townsend, Human Dignity and the Adjudication of Environmental Rights (2020)). URL
  • Book Review, 13 L. Env’t & Dev. J. 32 (2017) (reviewing Elisa Morgera & Jona Razzaque, eds., Biodiversity and Nature Protection Law (2017)). URL
  • Book Review, 3 L. Env’t & Dev. J. 286 (2007) (reviewing Gerd Winter ed., Multilevel Governance of Global Environmental Change: Perspectives from Science, Sociology, and the Law (2006)). URL
Other Publications

  • Forest Carbon: Law and Property RightsConservation International (2009). URL


  • University of California Hastings College of the Law
    J.D., Law

  • University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies
    LL.M., International Law

  • Cornell University
    Ph.D., Science & Technology Studies

  • Cornell University
    M.A., History and Philosophy of Science

  • Cornell University
    B.S., Biology


  • 1st Year Environmental Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • Climate Change: Law and Business Seminar
  • Torts
  • Biodiversity Law