The Burgeoning Volume of Environmental Law Scholarship

I’ve had the impression that, over the time I’ve been following environmental law, there’s been a dramatic increase in the amount of scholarship in the field.  I did a search of the Westlaw JLR database for  (“environmental regulation” “air pollution” “water pollution” “endangered species”) with data restrictions.  This search is only an approximation but it should capture a high proportion of environmental articles and not too many others.  To the extent there are errors, they don’t seem to be correlated with an article’s date.

The trend appears to be quite striking:

1975-1980  165

1980-1985  817

1985-1990  2418

1990-1995  6806

1995-2000 9058

Since Westlaw will only count up to 10,000 documents for a search, the post-2000 data is broken into smaller periods:

2000-2003 6017

2004-2007 6831

2008-2010 5635 (note that this is a shorter period than the previous two).

I’m sure that a more careful study would provide more accuracy and perhaps reveal some trends within subfields.  But these rough results clearly confirm my intuition that environmental law scholarship is expanding rapidly.