Fulfilling the Promise of the Endangered Species Act: The Case for an Endangered Species Reserve Program

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has become one of the most controversial pieces of U.S. environmental legislation. Proponents claim the ESA is a success because it has saved many species from extinction, including high-profile species such as the whooping crane, California condor and black-footed ferret. Others question the ESA’s record, especially in terms of conserving species on private lands. The Endangered Species Act was passed with the best of intentions: to help prevent rare species from extinction and improve their prospects so they would no longer need the Act. This study seeks to assess whether it has achieved those intentions in the most effective way possible. In so doing, it draws on a wealth of literature, case studies and candid insights from some of the most important individuals involved in the Act’s development and implementation.

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