HTML _ 92-944 - The Listing of a of Species: Legal Definition and Biological Realities
15-Dec-1992; Lynne Corn; 5 p.

Abstract: The 103d Congress will debate the reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 2 which expired on October 1, 1992. The Act has recently generated controversy, even though it passed in 1973 with virtually no opposition. Much of the debate concerns specific actions that would jeopardize particular species or populations. However, the controversy has been fueled by the discrepancies between two sets of legal definitions and the subtle biological realities that they approximate First, the ESA offers different levels of protection to vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals), invertebrates (all other members of the Animal Kingdom), and plants. Some environmentalists have reacted against these differences by pressing for ecosystem protection in cases like the northern spotted owl, and arguing that recoveries could be more successful if all organisms were given equal protection. Second, the Act defines populations and species without highlighting the subtleties of their distinctions or the difficulty of their determination. As a result, several complicated issues have arisen about the protection of organisms like the marbled murrelet and Florida panther. The distinctions among vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants, and between populations and species will be important issues in the ESA reauthorization debates. [read report]

Topics: Biodiversity

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