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Rebuilding the Ark: New Perspectives on Endangered Species Act Reform

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0844743912
ISBN-10: 0844743917
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Editorial Reviews


Rebuilding the Ark joins the decades-long Endangered Species Act dialogue with a fresh look at longstanding issues pertaining to landowner incentives, costs, and effectiveness. Its authors reveal the ESA and its implementation as dynamic, with its evolution moving toward strengthening incentives for private stewardship. Yet tough issues persist, and this collection of essays hits most of the big ones-climate change, water issues, pesticides, the sheer scope of the perils species face, and the delicate interface of science and the law. The book offers us a serious look at critical challenges of species protection and how the ESA both advances and limits achieving that goal. (Lynn Scarlett, Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior)

In Rebuilding the Ark, Jonathan H. Adler and an array of distinguished legal authorities and conservation practitioners argue that Endangered Species Act reform must 'recognize the fundamental importance of protecting whole habitats and ecosystems rather than single species.' Indeed, this is the challenge before us. A workable plan for a twenty-first century rare species ark for any nation, or any living system on the planet, must at least identify, support, and show how to pay for essential 'construction' materials. Instead of the 'gopher wood' used in Noah's ark, our twenty-first century ark requires landowner commitment, resource user awareness, sound and objective data shared among significant parties, supportive and encouraging technical service providers, meaningful incentives, and actual willingness to share burdens of retaining species in habitats. Rebuilding the Ark illustrates how the ESA has been generally ineffectively deployed, how its maladroit application can leave many landowners feeling aggrieved and bitter, and, despite lofty goals based on obviously dwindling numbers of some species, why mandates the Act imposes deserve improvement or replacement. I recommend this book to the active conservationist and serious policymaker for its principled, practical approaches that could help stop the loss of many U.S. species and threatened species across the globe. (Brent M. Haglund, president, Sand County Foundation)

About the Author

Jonathan H. Adler is a professor of law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: AEI Press (June 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0844743917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0844743912
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,561,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lewyn VINE VOICE on July 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is a group of essays on the Endangered Species Act; most but not all are from a libertarian-minded, "free-market environmentalist" perspective.

Most of the essays focus on Sec. 9 of the Act, which prohibits private individuals from harming endangered species or their habitat unless they get a permit from the government and create a "habitat conservation plan" (HCP) to mitigate the effects of their activity.

The most common free-market critique of Sec. 9 (enunciated by several of the essays) is that a landowner has a pretty strong incentive to prevent government from listing their premises as endangered species habitat, because if their land is so classified they can't do very much with it. So for example, a landowner has a strong incentive not to let biologists on his land to ascertain the presence or absence of endangered species, because if such species are present the land might be classified as habitat, thus restricting development rights. Or landowners may put political pressure on agencies not to classify their land as habitat. (However, I wish the essays had noted how landowners even know whether endangered species are on their land, since an ignorant landowner can't do much to obstruct government).

From the Left, another essay critiques the HCP process, asserting that it is unclear whether HCPs in fact preserve habitat, and that government doesn't do much to monitor either the success of or landowner compliance with HCPs.

The essays propose a variety of worthy-sounding, mostly fairly technical reforms. I wish, however, that this book had included some form of interaction between the authors, so that the nonexpert reader could learn which reforms were truly controversial (and why).
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