photo of Tom Ankerson

Thomas T. Ankersen

Director, Conservation Clinic
Center for Governmental Responsibility



Mailing Address:
Box #117629 Gainesville, FL 32611


(352) 273-0835

(352) 392-1457

Professor Ankersen directs the University of Florida Conservation Clinic, the experiential learning arm of the College’s Environmental and Land Use Law Program. Ankersen also directs the College’s Costa Rica Program. He practices domestic, international and comparative environmental law with an emphasis on Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean. Internationally he has worked and/or taught in 30 countries, though his focus remains in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the late 1990’s he helped to found the Mesoamerican Environmental Law Network, a consortium of non-governmental advocacy organizations. Internationally, his work has led to both domestic law reforms and international agreements in Africa and Central America as well as in the United Nations treaty system (World Heritage Convention Operational Guidelines). Ankersen has used his clinical experience to aid in the formation of 4 new environmental law clinics at law schools in Costa Rica and the Brazilian Amazon. In Florida, Ankersen works with state and local governments as well and non-profits to pursue innovative solutions to environmental and land use issues through law and policy. He serves as Florida Sea Grant’s statewide legal specialist. Ankersen is fluent in Spanish.

Professor Ankersen’s international scholarship has centered on comparative civil and common law, in particular comparative property law. In 2005 he received a MacArthur Foundation research and writing grant to study land tenure and administration in Latin America, which led to pioneering English language research into the “social function doctrine,” a gloss on property ownership not found in the common law. He has also published on the growing recognition of an international law of property, distinct from domestic law, and its relation to human rights and sustainable development law. His articles have been re-published in Spanish and Portuguese. Domestically, Ankersen researches and publishes in the area of environmental restoration, climate adaptation, and marine and coastal law and policy. He serves on the board of the National Sea Grant Law and Policy Journal.

Professor Ankersen's scholarship can be found on Bepress.


J.D., University of Florida; M.A., University of South Florida; B.A., University of South Florida

Teaching and Scholarship

  • Domestic/International Environmental Law & Policy, Water Law, Protection of Biological Diversity

Professional Activities

  • University of Florida: Joined College of Law in 1991 as Legal Skills Professor and Attorney at the Center for Governmental Responsibility. Named Director, Conservation Clinic (1998) & Director, Costa Rica Joint Program in Environmental and Land Use Law (2000). Affiliate Faculty, Center for Latin American Studies since 1993.
  • Professional Experience: Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund Inc., Staff Attorney, Denver and Tallahassee (1990-91). Peeples Earl & Blank, Senior Litigation Associate, Miami (1986-90). Stottler Staggs & Associates, Environmental Planner, Cape Canaveral (1980-83).
  • Professional Affiliations: President, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center Board of Directors; Tropical Ecosystems Directorate, U.S. Department of State Man and the Biosphere Program; Board of Directors, Forest Management Trust; World Conservation Union Environmental Law Commission.

Conservation Clinic (2-3 credits) - LAW 6465/6930

Domestic/International Environmental Law & Policy

Marine and Coastal Law Field Course (2 credits) - LAW 6930

Protection of Biological Diversity

Water Law (2 credits) - LAW 6492

Book Chapters

  • "Inside the Polygon: Emerging Community Tenure Systems and Forest Resource Extraction" (with Grenville Barnes) in Working Forests in the Tropics: Conservation through Sustainable Management? (Columbia University Press, 2004)


  • Turtles Without Borders: The International and Domestic Law Basis for the Shared Conservation, Management, and Use of Sea Turtles in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama (with Gabriela Stocks, Franklin Paniagua, and Sekita Grant), 18 Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy 1 (2015)
  • The Tiff Over TIF: Extending Tax Increment Financing to Municipal Maritime Infrastructure, (with Samantha Culp and Marissa Faerber, XXXIV:3 Florida Bar Environmental and Land Use Law Section Reporter 1 (2013)
  • A Multidisciplinary Review of Current Sea Level Rise Research in Florida (with Anna Cathey Linhoss, Lisa Gardner Chambers and Kevin Wozniak), Technical Paper 193, University of Florida Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences (2013)
  • Large Woody Material: Science, Policy and Best Management Practices in Florida Streams (with Linhoss, Cameron A., Hall H., and Blair S.), 75 The Florida Scientist 157 (2012)
  • Comprehensive Sea Grass Restoration In Southwest Florida: Science, Law And Eco-Regional Planning (with A.B. Lingle Hotaling), 4 Sea Grant Law And Policy Journal 61 (2011)
  • Shared Knowledge; Shared Jurisprudence: Learning to Speak Environmental Law Creole, 16 Tulane Journal of Environmental Law 807 (2003)
  • The Environmental Impacts of International Finance Corporation Lending and Proposals for Reform: A Case Study of Conservation and Oil Development in The Guatemalan Petn, 29 Journal of Environmental Law 103 (1999) (with Ian Bowles et al.)