Sam Kalen


This article explores how the designation of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act provides an opportunity for landscape-level planning to conserve species. The Act’s requirement to designate critical habitat has generated considerable controversy. Some question its utility, including even those who aggressively pursue species conservation. Other industry and local communities challenge the economic analyses accompanying designations. For many years, designating critical habitat only occurred after litigation, well after the Act suggests designation. The general malaise surrounding the program, therefore, is well documented. Yet policy-makers and scholars shy away from crafting innovative proposals for resolving the principal issues hovering around the critical habitat program. This article fills that gap by examining those problems and suggesting how each of the primary issues can be resolved. The critical habitat program should change to reflect the Act’s objective: securing landscape- level management prescriptions to promote species conservation. The article refers to this new approach as “An Integrated Critical Habitat Recovery Program.”



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