Endangered Species Act at Thirty

First Volume of Endangered Species Act at Thirty Published

December 15, 2005

Santa Barbara, California


The recently published first volume of The Endangered Species Act at Thirty: Renewing the Conservation Promise was edited by Bren Professor Frank Davis with Dale Goble, University of Idaho Law School and J. Michael Scoot, Professor, Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at the University of Idaho.  The book is a follow-up to a conference on the Act held at the Bren School in November 2003.


The 30th anniversary of the law was an opportunity to do a retrospective, but also to think about conservation challenges of the 21st Century. More than 30 professionals from diverse backgrounds contributed to the book, including lawyers, economists, biologists, political scientists and others from academia as well as public and private organizations.


“Virtually everyone agreed that in general the Act has been successful,” Davis remarked.  “The act has plenty of problems but, by and large, participants recommended incremental reform to specific parts of the Act rather than major revisions.”


“Americans want to save endangered species, but there are also many opportunities to protect species before they become endangered.   The message of the two books is that in order for that to happen, we must better protect and manage species’ habitats using market incentives and all of the local, state and federal tools at our disposal.”


The book is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary review of issues surrounding the Endangered Species Act, with a specific focus on the act's actual implementation record over the past thirty years. The result of a unique, multi-year collaboration among stakeholder groups from across the political spectrum, the two volumes offer a dispassionate consideration of a highly polarized topic.


Renewing the Conservation Promise, Volume 1, puts the reader in a better position to make informed decisions about future directions in biodiversity conservation by elevating the policy debate from its current state of divisive polemics to a more-constructive analysis. It helps the reader understand how the Endangered Species Act has been implemented, the consequences of that implementation, and how the act could be changed to better serve the needs of both the species it is designed to protect and the people who must live within its mandates. Volume 2, Conserving Biodiversity in Human-Dominated Landscapes, which examines philosophical, biological, and economic dimensions of the act in greater detail, will be published in early 2006.


As debate over reforming the Endangered Species Act continues, these two books will be essential references for policy analysts and lawmakers; professionals involved with environmental law, science, or management; and academic researchers and students concerned with environmental law, policy, management, or science.