boone and crockett club position statement
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 and its amendments (“ESA”) represent an attempt by American society to limit adverse impacts of “economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation” on ecosystems and their native plants and animals. ESA reflects concerns about potential extinction rates, the need to conserve species of fish, wildlife, and plants that are of “esthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people” and a call to manage natural resources more broadly on an ecosystem basis. The ESA has fostered strong research recovery, and regulatory programs at federal, state and tribal levels for species identified as threatened or endangered by human-abetted extinction.
The Club supports the fundamental concept and intent of the ESA. The specific purposes of the Act "to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved" and “to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species” are logical and eloquent statements of intent. The true size of the problem, however, in terms of numbers of species and geographical extent is just now becoming apparent, as is the impossibility of conserving every species of native plants or animals in all the places they historically existed. The latter is a consequence, intended or not, of growth in the human enterprise and ensuing environmental changes. Inadequate funding, political intervention, and lack of knowledge and irreversible environmental changes have all hampered recovery attempts.
Implementation of the Act has significant problems that need attention. The focus on species or subspecies after they have declined to a point needing ESA protection is a ‘basket-case, band-aid’ solution to a much larger problem of alleviating human impact on the earth and the need to sustain or restore ecosystem resilience rather than merely individual species. We are just at the beginning of employing landscape scale conservation efforts that use adaptive, ecosystem management principles, and that may forestall the need to employ the ESA. The provision of diverse, resilient and productive ecosystems capable of sustaining shared and ethical use of natural resources is the essence of the Club’s vision for wildlife and conservation.
The Boone and Crockett Club supports the following approach to endangered or threatened species conservation:
- Work toward maintenance or restoration of diverse, resilient, and productive ecosystems capable of sustaining shared and ethical human uses of natural resources without sacrificing the inherent capacity of lands or waters to sustain native plant and animal species.
- Endorse ESA protections where science clearly shows they are needed for the sustainability and/or survival of native plant or animal species.
- Support federal, state, tribal and private management actions to avoid loss of species or the ecosystems which support them and to recover species and restore ecosystems.
- Encourage the development of scientific knowledge to understand the causes of species declines, to inform listing decisions, and to inform well focused management of wildlife and their habitats to alleviate those causes where socially and financially feasible.
- Recognize that scientific understanding will always be incomplete, occasionally wrong and that decisions for action must always be implemented adaptively and must address human needs as well as those of wildlife.
- Help educate the public on the need for shared, sustainable, and ethical use of natural resources of all kinds whether on private or public lands.
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