Policy Forum

Do Habitat Conservation Plans Protect Endangered Species?

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Science  13 Jun 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5319, pp. 1662-1663
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5319.1662

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Abstract

The number of threatened and endangered (T&E) species in the United States is increasing monthly and critical habitat is constantly being destroyed. The number of newly listed T&E species greatly outweighs the number recovered from threatened extinction, and the federal and state governments demonstrate little desire to step in on behalf of species at risk. These ecological crises faced by endangered species (1) may be exacerbated by the application of one aspect of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—habitat conservation plans (HCPs). Many T&E species will be at a crossroads over the next few years and the strength and use of the ESA will determine their fate.

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