Science and the Endangered Species Act

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National Academies Press, Oct 13, 1995 - Science - 271 pages
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The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a far-reaching law that has sparked intense controversies over the use of public lands, the rights of property owners, and economic versus environmental benefits.

In this volume a distinguished committee focuses on the science underlying the ESA and offers recommendations for making the act more effective.

The committee provides an overview of what scientists know about extinction--and what this understanding means to implementation of the ESA. Habitat--its destruction, conservation, and fundamental importance to the ESA--is explored in detail.

The book analyzes

  • Concepts of species--how the term "species" arose and how it has been interpreted for purposes of the ESA.
  • Conflicts between species when individual species are identified for protection, including several case studies.
  • Assessment of extinction risk and decisions under the ESA--how these decisions can be made more effectively. The book concludes with a look beyond the Endangered Species Act and suggests additional means of biological conservation and ways to reduce conflicts. It will be useful to policymakers, regulators, scientists, natural-resource managers, industry and environmental organizations, and those interested in biological conservation.

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