Royal C. Gardner


Professor of Law and Director, Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy

A.B., Georgetown University
J.D., Boston College

Environmental Law, International Environmental Law, Torts, Research and Writing (Environmental Law), Wetlands Seminar

Professor Gardner is an internationally recognized expert in wetland law and policy. Recent projects include advising the Government of Oman regarding wetland policy, coauthoring a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of environmental scientists, and creating an interdisciplinary course that facilitates discourse among experienced scientists, policymakers, and students.

His research and scholarship focus on U.S. and international wetland legal and policy issues, with an emphasis on biodiversity offsets. He has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.

Professor Gardner is the current chair of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) for the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental wetland treaty with 168 countries. He also served on the Ramsar STRP as North American representative (2006–2008) and invited expert (2009–2012). He was chair of the U.S. National Ramsar Committee (2005–2008) and participated in the Ramsar Convention Conferences of the Parties held in Spain (2002), Uganda (2005), Korea (2008), and Romania (2012). In 2006, he won the National Wetlands Award for Education and Outreach. In 1999–2001, Professor Gardner was appointed to the National Research Council’s Committee on Mitigating Wetland Losses.

An executive editor of the Boston College Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif, he graduated magna cum laude from Boston College Law School. He then clerked for Chief Judge Francis J. Boyle of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. From 1989 to 1993, he served in the Army General Counsel’s office as the Department of the Army’s principal wetland attorney, advising the assistant secretary of the Army (civil works) on legal and policy issues related to the Corps of Engineers’ administration of the Clean Water Act section 404 program. From 1993 until he joined the Stetson faculty in 1994, Professor Gardner worked for the Department of Defense, where he participated in negotiating international agreements with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus to facilitate the dismantlement of the former Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons.

Since joining the Stetson faculty, Professor Gardner has twice received Stetson University’s Homer and Dolly Hand Award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship and has been voted the Outstanding Professor by the Stetson student body. He has taught at Stetson’s summer programs in Spain, Germany, Argentina, and Estonia, and has been a visiting professor at the Universidad de Málaga (Spain) and Concordia International University-Estonia, where he received the Outstanding Instructor Award. At Stetson, Professor Gardner has served as director of graduate and international programs, associate dean, vice dean, and interim dean.

Phone: 727-562-7864 | Email: | Office: CR-205 (Gulfport)