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The Endangered Species Act




How it works


Recovery Plans and Delisting

Critical Habitat

Habitat Conservation Plans

Controversy: Is the ESA Effective?

Criticism of the ESA--from both sides

Is the ESA biologically unsound?

Private landowners


Links and References



The Endangered Species Act as it stands in 2007 is obviously flawed, but it is similarly necessary. Government regulations are a necessary evil for the protection and viability of ecosystems and species, but more still can be done to ensure the longevity of biodiversity. I agree wholeheartedly with Curtis and Davison when they write, "Too much of our focus is on the controversies surrounding the ESA. Too little of our attention is on how effectively we are protecting our environment and ensuring sustainable levels of development under the myriad of other laws that supposedly have those goals as their purpose." The first step, as I see it, is to systematically delineate taxonomic features beyond just 'species' and 'biome.' General consensus is needed for the definitions of 'ecosystem,' 'habitat,' 'community,' etc. Although the language of the Act is clear, the meaning is often left to the discretion of the ruling bodies. Although one cannot disentangle the science from the politics, a 'sounder' science can be developed and inserted to enhance the Act's legitimacy.

Increased citizen participation is also key to the legitimacy and continuance of biodiversity preservation legislation. Although there are very specific avenues for community participation through the Endangered Species Act, interest has been waning as new and more pressing threats are perceived by the public. A way to renew interest would be through new legislation that would call for habitat preservation and protection. Although a prairie may not be as cute and cuddly as the animals who call it home, a habitat protection approach may have a greater chance to trigger action before populations are endangered.

"The better the scientific justification for classification, the more likely that a biologically reasonable system can be codified into law." 

-Gordon Orians


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