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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 30:187-190 (2016)  -  DOI:

Ecological value and the US Endangered Species Act: Comment on Waples et al. (2015)

Michael Paul Nelson1,*, John A. Vucetich2, Jeremy T. Bruskotter3

1Oregon State University, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
2Michigan Technological University, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
3The Ohio State University, The School of Environment and Natural Resources, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) have struggled to understand the meaning of the definition of ‘endangered species’ within the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. This struggle centers on how the Services should interpret the phrase ‘significant portion of its range’ (SPOIR), which is part of the definition of an ‘endangered species’ in the ESA. The same issue has been debated by conservation scholars for more than a decade. Waples et al. (2015; Endang Species Res 27:189-192) offer a defense of the Services’ policy and their interpretation of the SPOIR phrase (issued in July 2014: 79 Fed. Reg. 37578). In doing so they criticize an alternative position that we, and others, have presented. We are concerned that Waples et al. (2015) inaccurately characterize our position and fail to acknowledge existing scholarship conflicting with their position. More generally, the policy designed and defended by Waples et al. (2015) and colleagues, and issued by the Services, is inconsistent with Congressional intent, and essentially the same position that has been roundly rejected in several federal court decisions.

KEY WORDS: Endangered species · Species recovery · Species range · Species extinction · Ecological value

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Cite this article as: Nelson MP, Vucetich JA, Bruskotter JT (2016) Ecological value and the US Endangered Species Act: Comment on Waples et al. (2015). Endang Species Res 30:187-190.

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