Species Conservation and Recovery through Adequate Regulatory Mechanisms
36 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2019
Date Written: August 28, 2019
The world is experiencing the sixth episode of mass extinction for life on earth. The National Academy of Sciences reports that this “biological annihilation” is even more dire than previously believed. Unlike previous episodes of mass extinction, this one is caused by human overpopulation, overconsumption, and anthropogenic climate change. The United States has been a world conservation leader for over a century, but its commitment to biodiversity is flagging while its contributions to the causes of extinction are growing. Although the United States is only one player in the global crisis, it is a major one, and its legal mandates for biodiversity protection, when assessed in the context of both global leadership and on-the-ground impacts, are essential for combatting extinction. Due to its broad influence, this article focuses on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and analyzes its overarching conservation mandate and the delisting process for formerly listed species. The nation cannot afford to allow newly recovered species to slip back into danger because of inadequate post-listing protections. As we near the close of the second decade of the 21st century on a rapidly warming planet, the time has come to transition from generalized discussion of recovery to an actionable plan to improve post-listing outcomes, one which includes adequate regulatory measures to protect the species and its habitat in the present and in the foreseeable future. A logical starting point is to apply the candidate conservation agreement (CCA) approach, used to keep a species from being listed in the first place, to newly-recovered species to keep them from requiring relisting. We assess the merits of CCAs, recovery plans, and delisting decisions to reach our recommendation of a new tool for species conservation, the Recovery Conservation Agreement. Such an agreement would incorporate components of recovery plans and CCAs, where critical players (federal, state, tribal, and private) work across jurisdictional lines to provide a roadmap to lasting recovery.
Keywords: esa, biodiversity, conservation, endangered species, climate
JEL Classification: K32, Q01
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation