Bringing Resilience to Wildlife Management and Biodiversity Protection
in Social-Resilience and Law. Craig Allen and Ahjond Garmestani, eds. New York: Columbia University Press. 2014
15 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2014
Date Written: January 6, 2014
Over the past few hundred years, human activities have increased species extinction rates by as much as 1,000 times background rates that were typical over Earth’s history. In the United States, estimates are that there are approximately 1,900 species listed as threatened or endangered, with potentially thousands more at risk. The challenge of addressing biodiversity loss and the inevitable but largely unknown consequences associated with it presents a “wicked problem” characterized by extreme complexity and radical uncertainty. The current approach to wildlife management and the wicked problem of biodiversity loss in the United States is the subject of this chapter. It examines the nature in which existing legal frameworks and institutions address these issues and the extent to which they are compatible with a resilience-based approach. After providing a working definition of resilience, it then provides a brief overview of relevant state and federal approaches to wildlife management and biodiversity protection in the United States. This chapter places particular emphasis on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), currently the strongest federal law capable of addressing biodiversity loss. It then explores the extent to which the ESA and other wildlife laws are compatible with resilience theory and provides some recommendations for legal and institutional reform based on a resilience-based perspective of social-ecological systems.
Keywords: Endangered Species Act, resilience
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